The United States is about to spend $50 million in stimulus money on fish food to help fish farmers who have been struggling since feed prices jumped 50 percent last year.
The money could provide algae to nourish clam and oyster larvae along the Pacific coast, fill the bellies of tilapia in Arizona and feed catfish, trout and gamefish in the Midwest and South.
Supporters say many fish farms are in already poor areas. They say the money will help keep the farms going and preserve jobs in areas hard hit by the recession and lacking other industries.
Much of the money is likely to end up in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — the nation's largest catfish producers. Catfish accounts for one-third of the nation's $1.4 billion aquaculture industry.