SeaFood Business

MAR 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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To p Species 38 SeaFood Business March 2014 Visit us online at www.seafoodbusiness.com Marketing Board in Baton Rouge, La. But the farmed industry's loss has been a gain for wild catfsh, she says. Te state generated an estimated 4 mil- lion pounds of wild catfsh in 2012, she says. Of course, she says, wild catfsh is a more unpredictable commodity, relying on weather and oth- er factors to determine the availability and even the size of the fsh. "Size of wild is the big- gest challenge for retailers and restaurants," she says, because they want to rely on a uniform product. Flavor can also be variable, since it is infuenced by the nutrients found in the environment. Right now, she says, they are watching the potential snow- melt in the many states that border the Mississippi River. "Catfsh like the fresh wa- ter (from snowmelt) com- ing through," she says. "Te nutrients in it will serve our catfsh fshery well." Harlon Pearce, who owns and operates Harlon's LA Fish & Seafood in Kenner, La., processes about 1 million pounds of wild catfsh a year and fllets are running about $4 a pound. While he sees a gap left by catfsh farmers who have ex- ited the industry, "we can't produce enough to take over the lack of farm-raised cat- fsh," he says. Like farmed catfsh, wild sales stay within the Southeast. Even with a wild product, he says they are processing year round, and are seeing more fshermen afliated with other species, such as crabs, moving into catfsh to supplement their business. Contributing editor Joanne Friedrick lives in Portland, Maine Te current focus, he says, is marketing. "Tere is so much competition for the center of the plate with other proteins," he says. "We have to develop tighter strategies and focus on consumers and how to reach them." Te Catfsh Farmers of America, which met in New Orleans for its 46th annual convention in February, is continuing to address this topic, says Barlow. One of the successful programs TCI has launched has been the Farmer of the Year campaign, which high- lights the top catfsh farmers from Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi. With a renewed focus on farm-to-table produc- tion, Barlow says consum- ers want to know where and from whom their food is coming. "We realize our fate is in the hands of the savvy consumer who is looking for information." To help reach consumers, Barlow says there is a big- ger push toward using social media. Additionally, TCI recently revamped its web- site, introduced a new cook- book and has developed new recipe videos. TCI is looking to work more closely with retailers and foodservice operators go- ing forward, taking "more of a rife, rather than a shotgun, approach," says Barlow. "We're in talks with lots of retailers," he says. "We've reached out to them, they've reached out to us and the possibilities are tremendous." Johnson has also heard that the industry is looking for ways to join forces as other commodities have and focus on issues such as food safety, nutrition and marketing. When asked about this strategy, Barlow says, "We have a lot of options ahead of us. So why not look at what other groups are doing in production agriculture? It gives you a discipline when you collectively come togeth- er like that." Auburn University's Han- son says in two meetings with catfsh processors this year, the participants were presented with information on how producers of foods such as Washington apples, lamb, pork, poultry, blue- berries and potatoes were presenting their products to consumers and looking at ways to add value. "A lot of these fellows just have their nose to the ground," says Hanson, and these meetings were meant to gauge "how they see themselves." Walk on the wild side Like the other catfsh- producing states, Louisi- ana has seen a reduction in production acreage, says Kristin McClaren, assistant executive director at the Lou- isiana Seafood Promotion & "Build upon the positive. We have had a quality product for over 40 years and we should push it forward. We can resurrect what we had." — Randy Rhodes, president, Harvest Select BOSTON, USA MARCH 16-18, 2014 Booth No. 2512 Visit us at : Seafood Expo NORTH AMERICA Thaifex-World of Food Asia Bangkok, Thailand May 21-25, 2014 China Fisheries & Seafood Expo 2014 Qingdao, China November 5-7, 2014 Hall 7, Booth No. 7320 Seafood Expo Global 2014 Brussels, Belgium May 6-8, 2014 Hall 6, Stand 808 Seafood Expo GLOBAL China Fisheries & Seafood Expo Our 27 th year! Our 27 th year! Offering Shrimp, Fish and Cephalopods plus Value Added products! The Catfsh Institute's new cookbook has simple dishes like asparagus wraps. 34_38TopSpecies.indd 38 2/19/14 1:02 PM

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