CLF Aquaculture Links: November 2015

AQ-news-300GE salmon is the same as non-GE salmon? When genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon was approved for human consumption by the FDA, consumer groups responded by clamoring for a new process that would review GE food animals and require the products be labeled as GE. But FDA has decided that GE salmon is equivalent to non-GE farmed Atlantic salmon. Read the article at the New York Times and FDA’s response to Read More >

Alabama bans imported catfish after testing

Farmed catfish made news in November as Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks announced a ban on all untested fish from Vietnam and China due to antibiotic drug residues detected in imported catfish from those countries (Associate Press). Catfish from Vietnam (i.e. basa, tra, or pangasius all called “Vietnamese catfish”) and China’s channel catfish contained residues of fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotics prohibited by the FDA in fish or seafood.

Though catfish may look cute, aquaculture-raised channel catfish are big business in the Southeast United States fetching over $400 million in 2003 and accounting for 46% of the value of all domestic aquaculture (Miss State Extension Service). In 2006, the US produced about 560 million tons of catfish, compared to about 28 million tons of imported catfish from Vietnam and China in the same year (Associated Press), which is beginning to create a rivalry between US producers and imports.

picture-1channel catfish :: wikimedia commons

The recent ban on imported Vietnamese and Chinese catfish in Alabama could represent a move to regain control of the US catfish market. The Catfish Farmers of America have taken out advertisements in the Washington Post and Politico urging Congress to improve testing of imported fish. Reading between the line in catfish industry statements, it is hard to tell whether the true motivation is consumer safety (due to exposure to antimicrobial residues in fish fillets) or protecting domestic catfish market share— or both (Associated Press). Read More >