“The Catfish Institute board wants to go in a different direction,” says Gantz. “I agree changes need to be made due to the direction that The Catfish Institute has recently taken, but that I feel it’s better if I pursue other opportunities at this time. I thank the Board for their generosity.”

The Catfish Institute was founded in 1986 by a group of catfish farmers and feed manufacturers to raise consumer awareness of the positive qualities of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish. Since its formation, annual live weight catfish sales have grown from 192 million pounds to more than 630 million pounds in 2002. Per capita consumption in the United States has grown from 0.6 pound per capita in 1990 to nearly 1.2 pounds per capita in 2001.

“Henry Gantz is a talented person who has served the industry well. We’re sad to see him leave, but he wants to pursue other things. We know he’ll do well wherever he goes,” says Harry Simmons of Yazoo City, who serves as chairman of The Catfish Institute’s board of directors.

Gantz served as president of The Catfish Institute for nearly four years.

Prior to joining The Catfish Institute, Gantz was Special Projects Manager for Farm Press-Primedia Business Magazines and Media. His previous employment history includes a stint as an account supervisor at a large public relations firm and managing editor positions at two farm publications.

A native of Belzoni, Miss., Gantz received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and advertising in 1973 from the University of Mississippi.

According to Simmons, The Catfish Institute’s Board of Directors has not yet begun its search for a new leader. However, he says, he anticipates the search for Gantz’s replacement will begin soon.

Based in Indianola, Miss., The Catfish Institute is a producer-controlled organization that receives its funding from catfish feed mills.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com