Catfish processing up 21 percent

U.S. Farm-raised catfish processed during June 2008 totaled 45.2 million pounds round weight, up 21 percent from June 2007, according to USDA’s latest report on catfish processing.

The average price paid to producers was 79.3 cents per pound for June 2008, up 1.9 cents from last month but 2.4 cents below a year ago.

Net pounds of processed fish sold during June 2008 totaled 22.4 million pounds, up 15 percent from the comparable month in 2007. The total end of the month inventory increased 7 percent from May but was down 17 percent from a year ago.

Sales of fresh fish, at 8.44 million pounds, were up 19 percent from June 2007 and represented 38 percent of total sales. Frozen fish sales, at 14.0 million pounds, were up 13 percent from a year ago and accounted for the remaining 62 percent of total fish sales. Sales of whole fish represented 18 percent of the total fish sold, fillets accounted for 61 percent, and the remaining 21 percent were mostly steaks, nuggets, and value added products.

The June 2008 average price received by processors for total fresh fish was $2.48 per pound, down 4 cents from last year. Prices for fresh whole fish were $1.65 per pound, down 6 cents from June 2007. Prices for fresh fillets were down 19 cents from a year ago at $3.07 per pound.

Total frozen fish averaged $2.46 per pound, down 6 cents from June 2007. Prices for frozen whole dressed fish were down 5 cents at $2.15 and frozen fillets at $2.92 per pound were down 6 cents from a year ago.

Freshwater imports for consumption of Ictalurus spp., Pangasius spp., and other catfish of the order Siluriformes for May 2008 totaled 10.2 million pounds, up 87 percent from the amount imported in May 2007. Imports were from Cambodia, Chile, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. The Ictalurus spp. imports totaled 2.86 million pounds, which were from China and Trinidad and Tobago.

Fresh boneless catfish fillet exports totaled 57,000 pounds, with 49,500 pounds going to Canada and the rest going to the Netherlands. No exports of frozen, boneless catfish fillets were reported for May 2008. Import and export data are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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