Farm-raised catfish processed during September 2002 totaled 53.4 million pounds round weight, up 7 percent from September 2001. The average price paid to producers was 57.6 cents per pound for September 2002, down 0.6 cent from August and 3.4 cents below a year ago, according to USDA's latest report on catfish processing.

Net pounds of processed fish sold during September 2002 totaled 26.5 million pounds, up 9 percent from the comparable month in 2001. Sales of fresh fish, at 10.2 million pounds, were up 3 percent from September 2001 and represented 38 percent of total sales.

Frozen fish sales, at 16.3 million pounds, were up 14 percent from a year ago and accounted for the remaining 62 percent of total fish sales.

Sales of whole fish represented 18 percent of the total fish sold, fillets accounted for 61 percent, and the remaining 21 percent were mostly steaks, nuggets, and value added products.

The September 2002 average price received by processors for total fresh fish was $1.99 per pound, down 15 cents from last year. Prices for fresh whole fish were $1.32 per pound, down 21 cents from last year. Prices for fresh fillets were down 15 cents at $2.54 per pound.

Total frozen fish averaged $2.13 per pound, down 8 cents from September 2001. Prices for frozen whole fish were down 18 cents at $1.82, while frozen fillets at $2.41 per pound were down 10 cents from a year ago.