Town Proudly Known as the ‘Catfish Capital of the World`

Although there are other towns that call themselves the “Catfish Capital of the World,” this one in Louisiana is the most well-known and has held the title both within and outside of the state. Discover why this town gained the moniker “Catfish Capital of the World” by visiting its location on the banks of the Atchafalaya River.

What Are Catfish?

The catfish, belonging to the order Siluriformes, is named after its noticeable mouth whiskers, or barbels. The catfish uses these barbels as feelers to locate food at the bottom of their aquatic environment. Taste buds are another feature that barbels have, which helps the catfish locate food.

Catfish inhabit places with slow-moving water, like deep pools, reservoirs, and rivers. Catfish are classified into 35 families, with about 2,900 distinct species. Fish live mostly in freshwater environments, however certain species are found in saltwater.

Catfish are bottom feeders and will eat nearly any kind of plant or animal. They will eat dead materials, but they prefer fresh prey like crayfish, shrimp, and algae. Catfish are regarded as invasive in most places due to their large appetites, lack of predators, and rapid reproduction rates. But it was because of this fish that this small Louisiana town gained its reputation as the “Catfish Capital of the World.”

The Catfish Capital of the World

Known worldwide as the “Catfish Capital of the World,” Melville, Louisiana As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Melville has a population of just 1,041, making it an ancient town with a long history in the fishing industry. Melville was established in 1889 and is situated in St. Landry Parish. Baton Rogue is roughly 50 miles to the northwest of it.

Melville used to have a number of ice houses and fishing docks on the Atchafalaya River. By the early 1900s, Melville shipped 50 barrels of fish everyday.

Melville is still well-known today for its delicious catfish dishes and top-notch catfishing. In addition, Melville celebrates its title with the annual Atchafalaya Catfish Festival!