Learn About High Quality Catfish
As Mark Twain once said, “The catfish is plenty good enough fish for anyone.” Farm-raised catfish is one of the most affordable, environmentally sustainable sources of high-quality protein available to American consumers today. U.S. farm-raised catfish has been one of the top 10 most-consumed seafoods in the United States for the past 20 years.
Catfish is by far the widest produced freshwater fish in the country, and farm-raised catfish is the largest aquaculture in the United States. Ninety-four percent of all U.S. farm-raised catfish is raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and catfish contributes about $4 billion per year to each of the state’s economies.
Catfish consumption levels have more than doubled since 1986, when catfish farmers and feed manufacturers formed The Catfish Institute to promote the benefits of U.S. farm-raised catfish. Today, Americans consume around 1 lb. per person of catfish each year.
Catfish can be used in most any recipe calling for whitefish such as tilapia, haddock or cod. Because it is less flaky than most whitefish, catfish also can be substituted as the protein for a variety of recipes —from lemon to jerk to fried to parmesan —calling for chicken.
Catfish Farming Process Produces Consistency
The production process for farm-raised catfish is part of why it is known for its consistency. Farm-raised catfish is grain fed unlike its bottom dwelling wild cousin. U.S. farm-raised catfish is not given any added hormones, and, under normal growing conditions, it is antibiotic-free.
Mature catfish remain in production an average of 4 to 6 years and lay 3,000 to 4,000 eggs annually per pound of body weight. Fertilized eggs are collected and placed in special hatcheries in order to maintain proper temperature and aeration for hatching, which takes place in approximately seven days.
Soon, the tiny catfish, now called “sac fry” because of the attached yolk sacs that supply their food, begin to swim and are moved to special ponds, where they grow into fingerlings. Commercial fish farmers stock ponds with catfish fingerlings that are about 3 to 4 inches long and pump fresh water into the ponds from underground wells. After 18-24 months, U.S. farm-raised catfish become full grown and reach up to 1 or 2 pounds.
Look for the U.S. farm-Raised Catfish Label
Catfish has a consistently sweet, mild taste and absorbs other flavors readily. Make sure you buy only U.S. farm-raised catfish —catfish that is produced under safe, environmentally sound and sustainable conditions; catfish that is inspected and held to the highest standards; and catfish that will taste great every time.
You can purchase farm-raised catfish or have it shipped to you from Deanie’s Seafood Market for your next home cooked meal. Of course if you don’t feel like cooking, come to Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants, where we take great pride in serving the best seafood! Stop in anytime for a Catfish PoBoy, a Giant Seafood Platter featuring catfish and a variety of the local seafood bounty, or fried or broiled Catfish, which you can order topped with lump crabmeat, crawfish tails or shrimp.