Catfish Processing

The Catfish Processing survey provides basic monthly processing data for the catfish industry. The survey allows the industry to track pounds killed and sold; grower price; processor prices received at the point of first sale; and the pounds of fish in inventory at the end of the month.

Survey data for catfish processing are collected from all qualifying processors. Processors must meet the minimum criteria of having a capacity to process of at least 2,000 pounds live weight of catfish per 8-hour shift.


Estimates of round weight purchased, prices paid, imports, exports, plus inventory, quantity sold, and price received by utilization are published in the Catfish Processing report released on the 21st or 22nd of each month. Additional tables, which provide a summary of the previous year, are included in the February release.

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Program Content

Processors provide round weight purchased and prices paid, as well as inventory, quantity sold, and prices received by utilization.


Producers and marketers use sales, price and inventory numbers to project future supplies of catfish. Producers and processors use the data in making business decisions. Economists use sales and price data to assess the present status and future of the industry. Data are also used in assessing the general situation of the agricultural sector.


The Catfish Processing survey is conducted monthly.


The survey is conducted entirely by NASS Headquarters' staff in Washington, D.C. NASS field offices, however, are responsible for keeping Headquarters informed of any new processing operations in their state to ensure that the survey coverage remains as complete as possible. Processors are contacted either by mail or telephone. Diligent effort is made to ensure that all operations are accounted for in the estimate.

The processing data are obtained specifically for farm-raised fish and exclude wild capture fish. Prior to summarization, questionnaires are compared with the previous month's reports for comparable placement of data, reasonable price levels, and reasonable inventory carryover given the sales and processing totals reported. Estimates are made for those processors whose reports are not available in time to be included in the release. These plants are identified in the publication. Imputed estimates are normally based on the processor's previous report and current conditions. Published totals are a straight summation of the individual reports and estimated data. Price items are weighted by the associated volumes to compute weighted average prices.

Special Features

One unique feature of the Catfish Processing report is the listing of cooperating processors by name on each month's release. This feature originally was used to solicit industry cooperation in maintaining coverage, but it has continued because of the processors' overall acceptance of this policy.

Import and export data for catfish, which are compiled by the U. S. Census Bureau, are also included in this report.

Related Programs

Census of Aquaculture
Trout Production
Catfish Production

Last Modified: 11/08/2018