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National Catfish Month: Alabama ‘vital’ for nationwide industry

A natural resource and an economic powerhouse, catfish are a fixture of Alabama’s landscape.

U.S. Sen. Katie Britt is moving for August to be recognized as “National Catfish Month” to spotlight Alabama’s contribution to an industry that goes far beyond the dinner plate. 

Britt recently joined Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and nine colleagues in introducing a resolution to praise catfish farmers and industry workers for their contributions.

“Nearly 33% of all catfish produced in the United States comes from right here in sweet home Alabama. Catfish is a vital part of our state’s economy, and I will always support our hardworking farmers and processors,” Britt said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in bringing forward this resolution to recognize the catfish industry’s contributions to our state and country.”

Wallace Drury, Alabama Catfish Farmer of the Year 2023, said he’s proud of the national recognition for the work being done in Alabama. 

“On behalf of the 85 Alabama catfish farmers, I want to extend my gratitude and thanks to Sen. Katie Britt for this recognition and her support of this industry,” said Drury, who farms in Hale County. 

“Alabama ranks second in the nation for catfish production. It’s an honor to raise healthy, clean U.S. farm-raised catfish that’s enjoyed across the country by families just like mine.” 

FULL TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION:

Whereas the Catfish Institute recognizes August to be National Catfish Month;

Whereas the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas recognize August to be National Catfish Month;

Whereas the States of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Tennessee embody the Channel Catfish as their State Fish;

Whereas the farm-raised catfish industry in the United States employs over 9,000 people and contributes almost $2,000,000,000 to the economy of the United States;

Whereas the United States has 55,855 surface water acres used for catfish production in 2023, and catfish growers in the United States had $447,039,000 in sales during 2022;

Whereas the average catfish farmer produces 6,800 pounds of catfish per acre;

Whereas 99 percent of all United States farm-raised catfish are grown in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas;

Whereas catfish is the largest farm-raised seafood product, by weight, in the United States, representing more than 50 percent of the food fish produced by the United States aquaculture industry;

Whereas United States farm-raised catfish are consistently high quality and, unlike ocean-caught fish, are available all year long;

Whereas United States farm-raised catfish are a sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood product;

Whereas catfish is a lean fish and an excellent source of protein; and

Whereas catfish is a versatile fish in cuisine of the United States, with a myriad of regional and national recipes to be enjoyed by all people of the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates August 2023 as ‘‘National Catfish Month’’;

(2) recognizes the contributions of all workers, past and present, that produce, process, and provide catfish for the people of the United States; and

(3) recognizes that purchasing United States farm-raised catfish supports farmers, jobs, and the economy of the United States.

Britt, Tuberville and Wicker were joined on the resolution by a coalition of lawmakers across political parties in recognition of the industry’s impact. 

“The catfish industry is vital to Alabama’s economy, and we are proud to be the #2 state, producing one-third of the world’s catfish,” Sen. Tuberville said.

“I’ve cooked and eaten a lot of catfish in my day, and even owned a catfish restaurant named Tubby’s Catfish in the 1980s. I join my fellow Alabamians in honoring our hardworking catfish producers and processors to ensure the security of our food supply.”

Alabama catfish farms are known for producing high-quality catfish.

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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