Fishy Farmers

Well, there you go. According to a study done by the Mississippi State University, Vietnamese catfish is tastier and just as safe as catfish farmed in the United States. But then, if you heard about the “catfish wars” a few years ago, you probably already knew that.

The Catfish Farmers of America had a problem: US consumers were having several problems. Instead of buying local catfish, they were buying commie foreign catfish which was potentially hazardous, inferior in quality, lower in price and worst of all, not even catfish. Being good free market types they ran to the Federal Government, including one Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas, and got local catfish labelled as the only true catfish (but not freedom fish). The Vietnamese catfish, even though they looked like catfish, were mere “basa” which were apparently also being dumped into the mouths of unfortunate consumers; tariffs were raised to cover their mouths and take from those of the Vietnamese.

Problem solved. Kinda. But back to that study. As before, regular eaters of catfish preferred the Vietnamese catfish by quite a margin, not even taking into account how much they would pay for it. Congressman Ross didn’t buy the results, insisting that he “can clearly tell you the difference between a farm-raised catfish from Arkansas, Louisiana or Mississippi and a basa fillet that was raised in a polluted river in Vietnam.” Clearly. Hugh Warren, president of The Catfish Farmers of America came up with this improbable response: “I have no problem at all with somebody’s personal taste. I have my own individual taste.”

The study concluded: “Based on these results, attempts should be made by the domestic catfish industry to improve the eating quality of their products, which will help insure competitiveness in the international marketplace.” No it won’t.

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