An article in Agricultural Research magazine tells
By Sharon Durham
January 22, 2001
Faster-growing catfish should result
from a new catfish line developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists in
Stoneville, Miss. Researchers at the
Catfish Genetics Research
Unit (CGRU) bred the new line, NWAC103, scheduled for release to catfish
producers in February 2001.
Catfish has become one of the most successful aquacultural enterprises.
Genetic research on channel catfish--the most commonly used species--began in
the mid-1960s. But producers have been waiting for development of a new,
higher-performing catfish line. Since the industrys inception, genetic
improvement has not had a significant effect on commercial production in the
major catfish-producing states--Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The release of the new catfish line should change that. It usually takes
catfish 18 to 24 months to go from birth to market. The new line grows 10-20
percent faster in the pond, and is ready for market sooner than others--an
advantage for producers. NWAC103 catfish also consume 10-20 percent more feed
than other catfish. However, the feed costs only 10 cents per pound, so
producers are gaining a return on their investment because they can often get
70 to 80 cents per pound for the fish.
Scientists are also using ultrasound technology to measure the size of
muscle in a live catfish, thus estimating fillet yield. Ultrasound measurements
are a good indication of which fish have higher fillet yield. ARS researchers
are now breeding those fish to find the potential of producing offspring with
higher fillet yields.
ARS will release the new catfish jointly from the
Thad Cochran National
Warmwater Aquaculture Center with the
Mississippi State University
Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State, Miss.
An article in Januarys issue of ARS monthly Agricultural Research magazine
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.
Scientific contacts: William R. Wolters and Brian G. Bosworth, ARS
Catfish Genetics Research Unit, Stoneville, Miss., phone (662) 686-3596, fax
(662) 686-3567, email@example.com,