THE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a request by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce for a Section 18 exemption on the herbicide diuron to control blue-green algae in catfish ponds.

“Control of blue-green algae in commercial catfish ponds is a challenging problem for producers,” Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell said. “This exemption gives producers a product that will abate this pest.”

Blue-green algae can cause catfish to develop an off-flavor, which hurts catfish sales and causes production problems.

Diuron is not registered for use in catfish ponds to control blue-green algae.

The exemption began April 1, 2001, and ends November 30, 2001. The Bureau of Plant Industry, the pesticide regulatory division of MDAC, is responsible for insuring that all provisions of the exemption are met.