October 27, 2008
US catfish processing up 1 percent on-year

Farm-raised US catfish processed during September 2008 totalled 39.7 million pounds round weight, up 1 percent from September 2007. Average price paid to producers was 82.9 cents per pound for September 2008, up 0.2 cents from last month and 13.2 cents above a year ago.


On the other hand, net pounds of processed fish sold during September 2008 totalled 17.9 million pounds, down 12 percent from the comparable month in 2007. Total inventory for the month increased 8 percent from last month and was up 5 percent from a year ago. Sales of fresh fish, at 6.51 million pounds, were down 13 percent from September 2007 and represented 36 percent of total sales.


Frozen fish sales, at 11.4 million pounds, were down 12 percent from a year ago and accounted for the remaining 64 percent of total fish sales. Sales of whole fish represented 17 percent of the total fish sold, fillets accounted for 61 percent, and the remaining 22 percent were mostly steaks, nuggets, and value added products.


The September 2008 average price received by processors for total fresh fish was US$2.60 per pound, up 23 cents from last year. Prices for fresh whole fish were US$1.73 per pound, up 8 cents from September 2007. Prices for fresh fillets were up 30 cents from a year ago at US$3.33 per pound. Total frozen fish averaged US$2.59 per pound, up 25 cents from September 2007. Prices for frozen whole dressed fish were up 14 cents at US$2.26 per pound and frozen fillets at US$3.07 per pound were up 28 cents from a year ago.


Meanwhile, freshwater imports for consumption of Ictalurus spp., Pangasius spp., and other catfish of the order Siluriformes for August 2008 totalled 6.99 million pounds, down 21 percent from the amount imported in August 2007.


Imports were from China, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Ictalurus spp. imports totalled 1.32 million pounds, which were from China and Mexico.


Fresh boneless catfish fillet exports totalled 62.9 thousand pounds, with 56.1 thousand pounds going to Canada and the rest going to Mexico, the Netherlands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Frozen, boneless catfish fillets, for the month of August, totaled 12.0 thousand pounds all going to the Netherlands. Import and export data are compiled by the US Census Bureau.