Can Catfish Aquaculture be Profitable in Farm Ponds?

Extensive channel catfish farming is a means of utilizing farm ponds for aquaculture production for either supplementary income of home use. This involves stocking catfish at sufficiently low densities such that a pond is able to assimilate excess feed and fish wastes without needing supplemental aeration or chemicals to keep water quality from reaching toxic levels. This is "low-tech" aquaculture and requires little producer labor/management inputs. A mathematical model of extensive catfish culture in farm ponds was presented in this paper. This model used data from Kentucky where part-time producers, with a minimum of aquaculture experience and time for pond management, are involved in culturing catfish for retail/live markets. Results of this model showed that the optimal strategy would be to stock fish at densities up to 3,000/ha/yr (1,200/ac/yr). Other results showed that breakeven prices were less than $2.20/kg ($1.00/lb), a popular retail price for whole catfish. Hence, this paper concluded that small-scale aquaculture is both feasible and profitable in farm ponds, provided the producer had access to retail markets for the product.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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