Marine Aquaculture Economics Outreach

Since 1990, Dr. Benedict C. Posadas has consistently developed and maintained the Mississippi State University, Coastal Research and Extension Center’s economic research and extension programs with an emphasis on the following major areas. 

The current R and E projects conducted by Dr. Posadas are best described at

A video presentation of Dr. Posadas' 2020 MSU-CREC marine aquaculture economic research and extension projects can be viewed at


The Growing U.S. Oyster Aquaculture Industry -  2022-2023:  

  • Recently, Dr. Posadas was asked by federal and state aquaculture and fisheries agencies to assist in their current programming efforts.
  • In response to recent videos by Dr. Posadas, the NOAA Aquaculture Program (NOAA-AP) communicated with him regarding the issues involved in conducting a national study to determine the productive capacity of the oyster farming industry before farmed oyster prices will start to decline.
  • Dr. Posadas shared with NOAA-AP recent Mississippi MarketMaker Newsletter issues dealing with the U.S. oyster market and the rising oyster farming industry. 

Economic Status and Contribution of U.S. Aquaculture: Analyzing Viability Structures, Economic Impact, and Management Measures for Future Success - 2021-23: 

  • This integrated multi-partner project supports the sustainable development of U.S. aquaculture through the provision of accurate economic, financial, and market-level information and by addressing the critical gaps in aquaculture economics, knowledge base, and training.
  • The project proposes to develop comprehensive updated information on the economic, financial, and investment feasibilities and contribution of major aquaculture sectors in the U.S. employing primary farm-level data.
  • The project facilitates the development of a comprehensive non-proprietary business management tool that provides readily accessible economic feasibility indices that would help existing aquaculturists, aquaculture entrepreneurs, investors, and potential lenders. 
  • Dr. Posadas is collaborating with several aquaculture economists from the different U.S. universities on this NOAA-Sea Grant-funded three-year national aquaculture research and extension project. 

Economic Impacts of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic - 2020-2022: 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States on March 13, 2020. With the severe disruptions in seafood sales to eating and dining places, producers have to develop ways to sell their products to consumers directly.
  • US consumers spent an estimated $102.2 billion on fishery products in 2017, including $69.6 billion at restaurants and other foodservice venues, and $32.5 billion at retail.
  • US restaurants had sales of $450 billion during the 12 months ending in January. Just over 48 percent of this is from off-premise dinings such as takeout or delivery. Restaurants will lose at least one-third of the total restaurant sales compared to 2019.
  • Dr. Posadas developed and estimated economic models to measure the direct economic impacts of the pandemic to US aquaculture production, farm-gate values, and farm-gate, wholesale and retail prices.  
  • YouTube link to direct impacts of COVID-19 presentations -

Catfish Surimi Processing – 2018-2023:

  • Working with seafood scientist (Dr. Sam Chang) and a 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. 
  • 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 food fish species grown in the United States.
  • Overall, the production of surimi from byproducts of food fish processing reduces wastes and expands economic opportunities in rural America.

Softshell Blue Crab Pond Production, 2018-2022:  

  • 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. 
  • 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 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.