North Texas’ Catfish Conundrum

Catfish off the menu in some places because of shortage


Texans love their fried catfish, but the tasty treat may be harder to find.

Stories are popping up in the news about catfish shortages due to farmers getting out of the business to plant other crops as well as competition from overseas.

Rainer Bantau of Babe's Chicken Dinner House is feeling the shortage firsthand. He's only received 10 percent of his regular shipment in the last few weeks.

"The industry prediction is that there is only a few weeks of inventory left from today," said Bantau, reading from a letter he received from his supplier. "We've gotten more feedback on not having catfish than any dessert we've added."

The shortage forced Babe's to stop serving fried catfish at eight locations. Its Cedar Hill restaurant is the only location it serves fried catfish at.

"We know that we have a huge fan base or customer base that enjoys eating catfish, so how do we replace that?" Bantau said. "We really don't have an answer for that as of yet."

He said the shortage comes just as many people eating fish.

"With Lent having started this last week, a lot of people switch to seafood. It's a terrible, terrible time -- couldn't be worst timing," Bantau said.

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