Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Struggling Miss. catfish farmers may raise algae

Catfish farmers in Mississippi have struggled in the last few years, due to the combination of high food and fuel prices and foreign competition. Many are abandoning the business altogether, choosing to enter the biofuels market by transforming their catfish ponds into farms for algae.

Arizona-based PetroSun is hoping to lease the unused ponds from farmers, The Associated Press reports. Proponents say that algae-based fuel is an attractive alternative to other biofuels because, unlike ethanol, it does not rely on food sources. Neither would it decrease the number of catfish ponds. Algae farming "is not problematic because the ponds they are looking at are out of production," said Andy Whittington, president of the Mississippi Biomass Council. "The catfish market hasn't been what it needs to be, and there are a lot of ponds going out of production now." (Read more)

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