American fish farmers seemed to be on a winning streak with catfish, but things have turned. Now catfish farms are going under, and the name "catfish" is being replaced by the more upscale invented name "delacata."
Ironic, considering the battle over who could use the name "catfish." American fish farmers won, but they don't want their prize anymore.
Catfish farms were on a winning streak just a few years ago. They turned out a good fish at a good price, with a positive sustainability ranking, and people were buying it. Then foreign competition shuffled the deck.
Vietnamese catfish farms (photo above right) grow good fish at a good price, and the fish are cheaper. They're coming back under their own names, tra, basa, and pangasius, and winning again at the fish counter. The only hope for American catfish farmers is to win the race to the top, by selling for a high price to discerning fish lovers. You'll soon see a new American catfish product that will compete by featuring the higher environmental and sustainability standards used in US fish farms. Only it won't be called catfish, a name that's not suitable for a premium fish.
Enter "delacata," a new name for a fillet that's better than catfish. You'll see it soon if you haven't already, and it'll be free of the risk of contamination that hovers around imported farmed fish.
Who's winning the catfish wars? You decide, after you try delacata.