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News Filed Under Catfish

July 17, 2009 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low prices and below-average landings are making a poor season for shrimpers, but consumers are getting a great deal on high-quality Gulf shrimp.

Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi’s shrimp season opened late and in two phases. Normally the season opens in early June, and part did open June 7, but the rest did not open until June 25.

March 5, 2009 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Two scientists at Mississippi State University’s Thad Cochran Warmwater Aquaculture Center recently received a national technology transfer award for their work with young channel catfish.

Jim Steeby, an aquaculture specialist with the MSU Extension Service, and Les Torrans, a fish biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, received the 2008 Technology Transfer Award for Superior Efforts. The award was announced Feb. 10 in Washington, D.C.

August 1, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High feed prices and low live-fish prices this year are forcing catfish producers to evaluate their operations and future plans, and many are calling it quits.

Catfish feed makes up about half of the production cost, and prices are more than $400 a ton this year, up from $250 a ton last year and in recent years. Live-fish prices have been as low as 70 cents a pound for catfish, but by July had reached 80 cents a pound. High fuel prices also mean it costs more to feed catfish, aerate ponds, and deliver fish to the processor.

Shrimp boats line the public docks in Biloxi after spending the night harvesting in the Gulf. Shrimp lovers are finding good supplies, but prices are up this season. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
July 3, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The price of shrimp is up this season, but so is the cost of getting Mississippi's shrimp harvest to market.

The Mississippi harvest began June 17, with early-season wholesale prices up from 10 cents to $2 a pound, depending on size, said David Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Biloxi.

Mark Silva, an Extension associate with the Delta Agriculture Weather Center, checks catfish pond water temperatures. (Photo/ Robert H. Wells)
March 20, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- The distressed Mississippi catfish industry received a small boost in January as state producers were granted $8.1 million in disaster assistance for losses sustained in the hot summer of 2006.

Cormorants and pelicans need about 100 yards of open water to take off and land. Jim Steeby, Extension aquaculture specialist with Mississippi State University, shows strings such as these placed across a pond about 60 yards apart that limit the open water available to the birds.
January 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi catfish producers want consumers to eat lots of their product, but when those consumers are predatory birds, it's time to get out and patrol the ponds.

Double-crested cormorants are large, black migratory seabirds that somewhat resemble ducks. They can be up to a yard long with a wingspan of more than 4 feet. They seem to have an endless appetite for fish, especially young pond-raised catfish.

January 10, 2008 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish sales soared years ago when producers began to consistently deliver delicious fillets to consumers, but they continue to fight the off-flavor problem.

With today's tight markets and strong international competition, it is especially important for farmers to deliver a high-quality product to the marketplace as efficiently as possible.

Terry Hanson, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said off-flavor is a very serious problem for the farm-raised catfish industry.

Attila Karsi, research assistant professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and Nagihan Gulsoy, a visiting professor, examine a catfish fingerling with the disease enteric septicemia, a bacterial disease that costs the catfish industry millions of dollars each year. (Photo by Tom Thompson)
November 1, 2007 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University researchers are working to develop a new vaccine to protect catfish from a devastating bacterial disease that costs the industry millions of dollars each year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $371,400 to MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine to study enteric septicemia, or ESC. Researchers believe a modified live vaccine against the disease could dramatically reduce economic losses to catfish farmers.

Hoat Bui Thi weighs fresh-caught shrimp for a customer aboard the Lucky Lady at the small craft harbor in Biloxi. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
July 20, 2007 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fewer shrimp boats are working the waters off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but the industry is showing signs of recovery from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

“About 300 boats were counted in Mississippi waters the morning of June 6, the official opening date of the state's shrimp season,” said David Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extenison Service in Biloxi. “This is about the same number of boats counted last year, but still less than one-third the number before Katrina hit in 2005.”

Mississippi State University Extension aquaculture specialist Jim Steeby inspects a catfish egg mass at the L&S Fish Farm catfish hatchery in Leland. (Photo by Robert H. Wells/MSU Delta Research and Extension Center)
June 22, 2007 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- Catfish production is off to a good start in Mississippi in 2007 after a successful spawning season and warm weather that is promoting regular feeding.

“For the year overall, we are up on feed sales and feed to our fish,” said Jimmy Avery, Mississippi State University Extension aquaculture specialist based at the Delta Research and Extension Center National Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Stoneville.

April 5, 2007 - Filed Under: Catfish, Crops, Farming, Livestock

VERONA -- Each year for more than 50 years, representatives of agricultural producer groups in 27 northeast Mississippi counties have met to talk about their needs and to tell those needs to Mississippi State University research scientists and Extension professionals.

In the early 1950s, meetings were held under the oak trees at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Holly Springs. More recently, the site of the gathering has been the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

December 7, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish, Environment

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- U.S. farm-raised catfish land top honors as an environmentally friendly product in the fish and seafood category.

Researchers Craig Tucker and Jimmy Avery explained some of the benefits of these accolades to a crowd of catfish producers and researchers at the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center fall 2006 seminar held recently at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Mississippi State University agricultural economist Terry Hanson speaks at the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center's Fall 2006 catfish seminar held recently at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Hanson told the crowd that rising corn demand will lead to even higher catfish feed prices for farmers in the coming year. (Photo by Robert H. Wells/Delta Research and Extension Center)
December 7, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish, Corn

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- The increasing global demand for corn, a primary ingredient in catfish feed, will cause production costs to continue to rise, making it more difficult for producers to earn a profit.

“Our feed prices are not going to go down,” said Mississippi State University agricultural economist Terry Hanson. He was speaking to a crowd of catfish farmers and researchers at the recent National Warmwater Aquaculture Center fall 2006 seminar at the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Pat Gaunt, interim head of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinarian Medicine aquatic diagnostic lab in Stoneville, gives medicated feed to fish sick with columnaris disease. (MSU Delta Research and Extension Center photo/Robert H. Wells)
November 9, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE -- A new antibiotic for aquaculture may become twice as useful against deadly bacterial infections plaguing farm-raised catfish if it receives proposed additional labeling.

September 22, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fish biologists are encouraging farmers to monitor catfish for parasites that can seriously hurt pond production.

 “Recently, there has been a resurgence in concerns over trematodes in ponds,” said David Wise, research leader for the applied fish health program at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “While the number of farms with severe infestations has decreased, mild to moderate cases remain widespread in many regions that produce catfish.”

Mississippi State University soybean researcher Don Poston examines drought-stressed soybeans for signs of disease at the Delta Research and Extension Center near Stoneville. (Photo by Jim Lytle)
August 25, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish, Crops, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's row crops, catfish, timber and cattle are all feeling the impact of the 2006 drought and heat.

Bart Freeland, a physical scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weather facility in Stoneville, said many row crops need at least 20 inches of water, and some can use almost twice that amount in a growing season.

Charlie Hogue, catfish production specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, tests water from a catfish pond at Shirck Fish Farm in Noxubee County. (Photo by Tom Thompson)
August 24, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The fact that they live in the water has not spared Mississippi's catfish from feeling the effects of the summer's drought and high temperatures.

Catfish ponds in east Mississippi average 6 feet deep and are filled by rainfall and runoff. Ponds in the Mississippi Delta average less than 5 feet deep and have pumps to keep them filled with groundwater.

Charlie Hogue, catfish production specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said this summer's drought means the ponds in east Mississippi are not being refilled.

August 24, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish, Beef, Water

By Chance McDavid

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Decreased water and oxygen levels in Mississippi's drought-damaged ponds could lead to trouble for cattle and fish.

Muddy pond bottoms that occur when water levels fall can cause problems for cattle. Roy Higdon, area livestock agent with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cattle sometimes get stuck in the mud while looking for water to drink.

“When cattle get stuck, it is sometimes a challenge to get them out. It's a good idea to try and dig them out first,” he said.

Jim Steeby
July 14, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi's farm-raised catfish farmers have had their best hatchery season in 30 years and are seeing their best market prices since 1995.

Jim Steeby, aquaculture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the warm temperatures in April were ideal for the final maturing period.

“Fish started spawning by mid-April and were nearly finished by the first week in June, which is about three weeks early,” Steeby said. “Farmers were able to stock fry ponds earlier and have the entire summer for the fish to grow.”

December 8, 2005 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE -- The research of two Delta professors has the potential to save Mississippi catfish producers an estimated $5 million to $8 million annually. Now the researchers are being awarded for their contributions.

Ed Robinson and Menghe Li are research professors in catfish nutrition at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center's National Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Stoneville. They recently received the “most relevant publication to Mississippi” award from the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station.

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