Catfish Production

Catfish Production Survey

The Catfish Production surveys include two reports: A February report containing water area and grower inventory, sales numbers by size groups for major production States and United States, and a July report containing water area and grower inventory.

This survey provides basic production data for the catfish industry. The survey allows the industry to track water area devoted to production and other uses; the number, pounds, and value of fish produced; the point of first sale; and the number and pounds of fish in inventory. All known catfish farms in nine leading producing states are included in the January survey. The states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas. Three states, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, are surveyed in July.

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Program Content

In January, Catfish Production data are collected on the number of acres of water that are used for production, acres of ponds under construction, and acres taken out of production. The number and weight of fish in inventory by size of fish, and the number, pounds, and value of sales by size of fish are also obtained. Additional questions cover the percent of the total value of sales for food fish and stockers by marketing outlet. These outlets are live haulers, fee and recreational use, other producers, government agencies, direct to consumers, processors, and retailers. In July, only inventory and water area are collected.


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.


This main survey is conducted in January and the smaller survey is conducted in July.


A list of catfish operations is maintained by NASS. All operations (about 1,200) are selected for each survey in the states included in the program. The reference date for the inventory and water area is January 1 or July 1 of the current year. Sales data refer to the previous calendar year. Questionnaires are mailed to reach respondents about the first of the month. Growers not returning questionnaires by mail are followed up by phone. In some cases, personal visits are made.

Catfish Processing Survey
Related Programs

Catfish Processing
Census of Aquaculture
Trout Production

Last Modified: 04/18/2024