Asked if anyone is producing GE catfish, Engle says no. “The catfish industry has stayed away from genetically modified products because it is so controversial. They might be able to achieve faster gains if they did go with GE stock, but they have deliberately gone the other way because of concerns about consumer acceptance.

“Instead of going the GE route, the catfish industry has focused on traditional breeding. Scientists have developed select strains by crossing different families of catfish. Those are the same techniques used for developing improved performance in hogs and cattle.

“Right now, there is a lot of interest in raising hybrid catfish – a straight hybrid between the channel and blue. There is no genetic engineering involved in those fish.”