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U.S. catfish processing down from last year

Farm-raised catfish processed in the U.S. during June totaled 38.6 million pounds round weight, down 2 percent from June 2009. The average price paid to producers was 78.9 cents per pound for June 2010, down 0.7 cent from last month but 2.6 cents above a year ago.

Net pounds of processed fish sold during June totaled 19.9 million pounds, up 5 percent from the comparable month in 2009. Sales of fresh fish, at 6.75 million pounds, were down 3 percent from June 2009 and represented 34 percent of total sales. Frozen fish sales, at 13.2 million pounds, were up 9 percent from a year ago and accounted for the remaining 66 percent of total fish sales.

Sales of whole fish represented 18 percent of the total fish sold, fillets accounted for 59 percent, and the remaining 23 percent were mostly steaks, nuggets, and value added products. The total end of the month inventory increased 3 percent from last month and was up 5 percent from a year ago.

The total fresh and frozen average price for June 2010 was $2.43, down 8 cents from a year ago. The average price received by processors for total fresh fish was $2.44 per pound, down 3 cents from last year. Prices for fresh whole fish were $1.58 per pound, down 6 cents from June 2009. Prices for fresh fillets were up 5 cents from a year ago at $3.27 per pound. Total frozen fish averaged $2.43 per pound, down 10 cents from June 2009. Prices for frozen whole dressed fish were unchanged at $2.19 and frozen fillets at $2.95 per pound were up 4 cents from a year ago.

Freshwater imports for consumption of Ictalurus spp., Pangasius spp. and other catfish of the order Siluriformes for May 2010 totaled 9.97 million pounds, down 14 percent from the amount imported in May 2009. Imports were from Brunei, China, China-Taipei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Suriname, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Ictalurus spp. imports totaled 656,000 pounds, which were from China, Indonesia, Mexico and Suriname.

Fresh, boneless catfish fillet exports totaled 47.3 thousand pounds, with all going to Canada. Exports of frozen, boneless catfish fillets reported for May 2010 totaled 20.5 thousand pounds, going to the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles.

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