Thursday, June 1, 2017



 The Great Namazu, Retired Japanese Giant Catfish Demigod Now An Aquatic/Maritime / Political/ Science Commentator


Greetings Bipeds!
 As you all know I'm a 3,000 year old giant catfish the size of Japan and not considered eligible for human consumption. A lot of you American bipeds however consume astounding numbers of my smaller "cousins", which is OK by me since I consume the occasional distant relative just as you bipeds ,in some cultures, eat an occasional monkey. Indeed American bipeds both native and imports have been catfish consumers for some time. You've eaten them stewed, and fried mostly since pre- Colombian times and today it's big business. The first large scale fish farming in the United States was the raising of American freshwater blue catfish in the some of the states of the "Deep South"which started in the 1960s . The areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas where this industry flourished were characterized by heavily oxided red dirt soils over a clay under pan. These areas could grow Pines, and little else, until it was discovered that the red dirt top soil could be dug down to the water tight clay under pan to create ponds and small lakes. With generally about 60 inches of rainfall annually spread over the entire year in these regions the ponds filled fast. Pond culture brought new agricultural production to areas that had little more going than forestry. The Southern "catfish farm" industry took off and generally experienced smooth sailing until sometime in the 90s when the globalist upset the apple cart.

 In the 90's a competitor emerged. Enter Pangasius AKA 'the Asian catfish, an export of Vietnam and the catfish that, in an economic sense, almost ate the Southern US catfish farm industry. The lifting of the U.S. -Vietnam trade embargo opened the flood gate for Pangasius to swim into the catfish eating Southern U.S. market. Now Southern members of Congress of both houses and both parties are trying to pass legislation that would give the native catfish (pardon the pun) "a leg up" in the market.

 The "Catfish Dispute" between American and Vietnamese producers has been going on for decades now. The Southern cats won a victory when the U.S. passed a rule that Vietnamese catfish had to be labeled "made in Vietnam" to be sold in the U.S. market. Then in 2008 our Southern catfish cultivators made an unusual move. They asked to be more closely regulated. Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran's 2008 "Farm Bill" moved catfish inspection from the FDA to the USDA. Prior to the bill there had been circulating on social media some unsavory images of Vietnamese catfish farm operations. USDA meat processing standards are much more strict than FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations for seafood and other agricultural products.

 The Southern US catfish production operations photograph well. The catfish reside in ponds set in meadows lined by woodlands. They are fed a grain based mixture of fish food and left pretty much alone until large enough to harvest. Then the processors come with pretty clean looking tank trucks and the adult fish are seined out of the pond and placed live in the tank truck. The pond is then restocked with new fingerling catfish and the process starts again. Off the adults go to processing in FDA inspected plants. But since 2008 the catfish farmers of the Deep South have been working hard to get their product inspected by the USDA. Frankly the fish processors aren't that happy with the situation. Visit a FDA inspected fish processing plant  and you'll see shrimp, maybe blue crab, and all manner of fin fish coming down the conveyors under conditions regulated and inspected by the FDA. The 2008 rule would require the entire production line to stop for emerging American catfish as different rules came into play. Make no mistake about it, the rules would be stricter, especially involving more frequent inspection. But the Vietnamese would be highly unlikely to be able to comply.

 The Commie globalist label the entire "catfish dispute" as an "attack on free trade". Somehow the globalist leftards seem to think that such rhetoric will be universally appreciated and "free trade" is a mantra that will elicit sympathy for their cause of destroying any American industry in favor or any foreign competitor knocking on the door of the American biped fish eating market.  The fact is that due to the law suits and political actions by the globalists no American catfish were inspected by the USDA before 2016.  The commie leftards are starting to use conservative sounding arguments as well as their free trade mantra calling the USDA regulation of catfish processing "redundant", "uneconomic", and "ineffective". The lefty assault on the Southern catfish farmers will probably be aided and abetted by non Southern (known in this region as "Yankees") Republicans who are clueless about catfish.

 Frankly my own view is that the Southern boys already won the battle regardless of which agency inspects catfish processing in the end. The images of those unsanitary Vietnamese operations just won't leave the mid of the market. That market is still pretty much about 11 southern states where they know their catfish and have decided preferences. The battle was probably won the day the Vietnamese had to label their product. Not only do Southerners like catfish, and know how to prepare it, and have strong preferences for the American Southern product but they serve disproportionately in the now all volunteer US military. More families in the South lost members in the Vietnam war than in any other part of the country, the market will not favor a former enemy's product over a Southern product. Today the South is the processed catfish market, after decades of producing and marketing the product few outside of the South eat Southern or any other kind of catfish. It looks to me like the Southern producers can hold on to their market with little more than educational marketing, telling their market where and under what conditions those competitive catfish come from.

 The more difficult problem is expanding the market. Advertising to the Asian American community is probably a more immediately profitable gambit than trying to teach Yankees to eat catfish. By contrast Asian cuisine has long incorporated catfish. They have many more ways of preparing it than just stewed or fired. Once it makes it way into upscale Asian American restaurants there will be a slow evolution of yuppie foodies wanting to prepare it at home followed by a more general acceptance of the product across a wider swath of the American consumer market.  In the name of 'Diversity" Yankees are highly likely to adopt a seeming strange food. But a Southerner, white or black isn't going to ever be able the change the food habits of the Yankees unless he has a French last name and hails from New Orleans. In New Orleans the farm raised catfish of the South is readily available breaded and fried on plates with fries and on "Po boy" sandwiches in neighborhood restaurants frequented by locals, but its not so big on the menus of the high priced tourist trade eateries. Fortunately in Louisiana there is a large Vietnamese American community active in the seafood businesses. Now with so many of the Vietnamese Louisianan business community being born in Louisiana the convenience, cleanliness, lower transport costs of the local fish will appeal to them. And so, the "Catfish Dispute" comes full circle starting with an attempt to keep a cheaper "made in Vietnam" product out of the market, American Vietnamese businesses centered around New Orleans will probably eventually lead the expansion of catfish consumption into Yankee land. No, those Yankees won't be eating deep fired catfish and hush puppies, more likely broiled catfish with peanut sauce (we raise peanuts in the deep South too) all thanks to having our own native catfish and now our own native Vietnamese chefs.

 So my Yankee biped friends, napkin up, you will soon be eating "Southern Vietnamese" catfish raised in the Deep South and you will like it!


This has sparked what is known as the “Catfish Dispute”—an ongoing argument between American and Vietnamese producers. Catfish Farmers of America, the industry’s main U.S. trade association, has sued the Department of Commerce repeatedly. Although they have won some victories—all Vietnamese catfish must now be labeled “Made in Vietnam,” for example—it hasn’t been enough to stop the torrent of competition. And so in 2008, they took an unusual step: they asked to be more strictly regulated.
Their argument, at the time, was food safety. “There were a lot of Youtube videos [of Vietnamese fish farms] floating around that were not appealing—it’s not a situation that you want to have your food come from,” says Dan Flynn of Food Safety News, who has reported on this saga since the outset. Together with a few food safety groups, Catfish Farmers of America pushed for more stringent inspections. Thanks mostly to the influence of Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, the 2008 Farm Bill contained a special provision moving catfish inspection duties from the FDA to the USDA.
Up until this bill, food inspection responsibilities in the U.S. were clearly delineated: the USDA checked out meat, poultry, and eggs exclusively, while the FDA took care of everything else, including our favorite whiskery fish. “This goes back to the days of Upton Sinclair,” says Flynn, “based on the principle that meat should be subject to continuous inspection.”
While the FDA does random inspections, the USDA checks all the domestically produced and imported goods under their jurisdiction, unless they are confident that the countries and states producing the goods have similar inspection standards.

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