I suspect a lot of people in Washington, DC haven’t tried catfish.  But a lot of Americans have and the chances are reasonably good that it came from a farm in West Alabama.  At a time of painful economic recession, Washington would do well to remember the incredible impact of the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry on our economy.

Catfish farming supports 2,700 hardworking people and produces an economic impact of nearly $500,000,000 per year – just in my state of Alabama alone.  It is also the top aquaculture industry in America.  In 2003, unfair dumping of imported catfish from Vietnam nearly put the domestic catfish farmers out of business.  I was proud to help make the case to the U.S. Department of Commerce for an antidumping order to protect our farmers from Vietnamese imports selling at 44 to 64% below fair value.  That original order is currently being reviewed by the International Trade Commission.  

With farmers struggling with rising feed prices and growing competition from low-cost imports, now is the wrong time to roll back common sense protections for domestic catfish producers.  I hope and trust that the ITC will do, not just the right thing, but the smart thing for the American catfish industry and the thousands of jobs it supports.