World Aquaculture Society Meetings

PRODUCTION OF HYBRID CATFISH USING IN-POND RACEWAY SYSTEM

Avery Davis*, Fernando Kubitza, Jesse Chappell, Terry R. Hanson
*School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Science, Auburn University (SFAAS-AU) 203 Swingle Hall, Auburn, AL, USA 36849

With the US Catfish industry's declining production since 2003, increased competition from imported substitute products and higher feed prices, technological advances have to be made in order to increase production while lowering costs to keep the industry competitive.

Beginning in March of 2016 the first year of a four-year study has been set out to assess the feasibility of In-Pond Raceways Systems for production of market size catfish compared to other current conventional pond production used by the catfish industry. The In-Pond Raceway System (IPRS) was first developed at Auburn University in the early 1990s. IPRS has been experimentally proven to improve survival and feed conversion (FCR) and allows for a high standing crop of catfish in production units that are only a small fraction of the pond's total area. However IPRS has not consistently produced market size catfish in past trials.  Thus, there is still a lack of sound production data needed to demonstrate and encourage catfish farmers to adopt this technology.

IPRS allowed us to produce a marketable catfish (>454g) in one growing season. The percentage of catfish that made it to marketable size (>454g) B1-95.2%, B2-99.4%, B3-96.5%, B4-99.1%.The percentage of catfish above 680g (1.5 lb) B1-66.0%, B2-82.4%, B3-63.0%, B4-79.3% meaning that well over 50% of the fish population made it to the first year's goal. The two larger IPRS units doubled the yields (~16,237 kg/ha) of conventional catfish ponds (7,800 kg/ha). The two smaller IPRS units (~13,720 kg/ha) nearly doubled the pond standard yield. FCR values calculated in this IPRS study (1.5-1.64) were far better than those of conventional catfish pond production systems (2.2-2.4). This significantly reduced feeding cost in the IPRS. The weighted total cost of production was US$2.08/kg (US$2.01 - 2.15/kg). Fish were sold to processor at US$2.53/kg yielding a profitability index of 24.0% above total costs.







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