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Story Archives: Catfish bill advances
|Catfish bill advances|
A proposal that would require Louisiana restaurants to reveal the country of origin of any catfish on the menu passed through the state House of Representatives last week.
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Noble Ellington, D-Winnsboro, who called the measure "an important step" to protecting the state's $30 million catfish industry.
State Sen. Francis Thompson said the bill "levels the playing field a bit" for Louisiana catfish producers who have to compete with cheaper, foreign fish.
"Louisiana producers have to continue to secure a larger share of the market," said Thompson, D-Delhi. "If they're competing with a cheaper product, it puts them at a disadvantage."
Ellington said if the bill passes the Senate, it would give area catfish farmers a much needed boost in restaurants without harming those establishments.
"It just requires the country of origin of the catfish to be disclosed," Ellington said. "If they are going to serve catfish from outside the United States, they have to tell the people buying it."
Thompson stressed that there were no health concerns for catfish imported from nations such as China or Vietnam.
"There may be nothing wrong with them, "But, by the time they get here from Vietnam, after freezing and shipping, the fish just doesn't taste as good as domestic catfish."
For Thompson, however, it was a question of quality.