An economic recession, fuel prices and foreign imports have combined to
significantly slow Louisiana's catfish production. LSU AgCenter agent Dennis Burns says the high cost of feed grains is a big hurdle for catfish farmers. He says rising fuel costs are a problem too.  Acres in Louisiana devoted to catfish farming have dropped profoundly from over 12-thousand acres in 2002, to just under 2000 acres last year.
Then there's the threat of cheap imported catfish.  Burns says they outsell domestic cats, even though they're raised under less stringent health regulations, and their safety isn't certain.  Burns says demand for grain stocks for ethanol production have forced feed prices up by over 100%. He sees a future for catfish farming with most operations scaled back to suit more local demand.