Marine Aquaculture Economics

Since 1990, Dr. Benedict C. Posadas has consistently developed and maintained the Mississippi State University (MSU), Coastal Research and Extension Center’s (CREC) extension and research (R&E) program in economics with an emphasis on the following major areas. 

The current R and E projects conducted by Dr. Posadas are best described at https://www.msstate.edu/our-people/2019/12/ben-posadas

AQUACULTURE

Catfish Surimi Processing – 2018-2021:
http://gomos.msstate.edu/Catfish-surimi.html

Working with seafood scientist (Dr. Sam Chang) and chemical engineer (Dr. Santanu Kundu), Dr. Posadas started creating a hypothetical surimi processing plant using results of previous studies performed at the MSU Experimental Seafood Processing Laboratory and analysis conducted by faculty and staff at the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics. This is a three-year project externally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Posadas devotes 13.33 percent (5.33 hr/wk on Fridays) of this time to perform the tasks outlined in the project proposal starting on July 1, 2018.

Catfish processing generates byproducts consisting of heads, guts, skins, and frames. These byproducts are generally sent to rendering plants, sold to pet food companies or could be used to produce fish meal. The entire catfish industry sold 320.174 million pounds of live catfish in 2016. In catfish fillet processing, approximately 60% of the whole catfish is the by-product, which would translate into more than 190 million pounds of byproducts. Since Mississippi growers produced 54% of all live sales, catfish processing byproducts in 2016 could be more than 100 million pounds.

The results of this research will provide an economic opportunity for the catfish industry to convert processing waste products into safe and domestically-produced surimi products. The expansion in the processing activity in the catfish industry will provide more employment and income opportunities in the rural communities in the catfish-growing areas. Furthermore, this processing system, after appropriate adjustments can be applied to other foodfish species grown in the United States. Overall, the production of surimi from byproducts of foodfish processing reduces wastes and expands economic opportunities in rural America.

The overall objective of this economic analysis is to evaluate the economic potential of producing surimi from the byproducts of catfish processing. Specifically, it aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To estimate the potential supply of catfish processing byproducts suitable for surimi production.
  2. To evaluate the economic and financial feasibility of producing surimi out of catfish processing byproducts.
  3. To develop optimal economic models of surimi production systems subject to supply and technological constraints. 

The aquaculture publications and presentations of Dr. Posadas are listed at http://coastal.msstate.edu/aquaculture-economics-publications and http://coastal.msstate.edu/aquaculture-presentations.  

Softshell Blue Crab Pond Production, 2018-2021:
http://gomos.msstate.edu/crab-softshell.html  

Working with crab scientists, specialists, and producers in Mississippi and North Carolina, Dr. Posadas started creating enterprise budgets for softshell blue crab pond grow-out systems in November 2018. This is a three-year project externally-funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Sea Grant Program. Dr. Posadas devotes 15 percent (6 hr/wk on Thursdays) of this time to perform the tasks outlined in the project proposal starting on November 1, 2018.

The U.S commercial softshell blue crab landings had drastically declined since 2000. This decline in commercial softshell blue crab landings radically altered the domestic market situation for blue softshell crabs. The ex-vessel prices of blue softshell crab have been persistently increasing over the years, with a marked increase during the last five years after the recession and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The overall objective of this economic analysis is to evaluate the costs of producing blue softshell crabs in the pond grow out production system. Specifically, it aims to achieve the following objectives:

1.    To estimate the investment requirements and ownership costs of producing blue softshell crabs in pond grow out production system.
2.    To evaluate the operating costs of producing blue softshell crabs in the pond grow out production system. 
3.    To develop optimal economic models of softshell blue crab production systems subject to supply and technological constraints.  

The evaluation of the costs of pond grow out of blue softshell crab in the Southern United States will be based upon a hypothetical commercial pond production system (CPPS) using pilot test results and commercial production practices in Mississippi and North Carolina. Operating costs will be estimated based on recommended management practices, biological knowledge of the species, estimated input usage and prices. A detailed description of the type, number, and costs of land, pond construction, machinery, and equipment necessary for the base CPPS model will be developed. 

The aquaculture publications and presentations of Dr. Posadas are listed at http://coastal.msstate.edu/aquaculture-economics-publications and http://coastal.msstate.edu/aquaculture-presentations