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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2007 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The yellow perch (Perca flavescens) is an important social and economic species in the Great Lakes, however, populations have plummeted. Given strong consumer demand, and high fillet value ($12.00/lb.- $15.00/lb retail), there is an urgent need to develop a sustainable yellow perch aquaculture industry that can deliver a high-quality cultivar year-round. Northern Aquaculture Research (NADF) will focus on a portion of the objectives that form the research initiative being conducted by ARS/USDA/Great Lakes Aquaculture Center (GLAC) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes Water Institute (GLWI). The objective is to assist with developing/adapting recirculating aquaculture system(s) technology for year-round production and enhanced grow-out. This will be accomplished by examining the effects of diel temperature fluctuations on juvenile perch growth, over a 6-month interval, in commercial-scale recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and to repeat the findings of this initial study. We expect to show that underutilized capabilities (temperature control) of RAS systems can be used to improve yellow perch growth, in an environmentally compatible and sustainable manner, for year-round production of this cool water species.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Northern Wisconsin Aquaculture Research will focus on applying state-of-the-art technology to assess commercial-scale production of yellow perch. Growth, food conversion, cost, survival, etc., will be studied in state-of-the-art production systems such as recirculating aquaculture systems. Fingerling yellow perch will be reared to market size using different diet formulations and production systems to evaluate the cost/profit issues and system performance for 1-year perch grow out.

3.Progress Report
This report serves to document research conducted under a Specific Cooperative Agreement between ARS and the University of Wisconsin-Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF). This SCA was recently renumbered from 3655-31000-019-03S to 3655-31000-020-02S to match the parent project, and given a new title: “Novel Approaches for Improving Perch Growth in RAS Systems.” Additional details of research can be found in the report for the parent 3655-31000-020-00D, "Improving Great Lakes Aquaculture Production." The production of yellow perch in a “state of the art facility” was evaluated at the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) during 2005 and 2006. Three different strains of yellow perch were evaluated: Mississippi River, Lake Superior, and Lake Mendota. Overall methods included: egg hatching indoors with heated water, fry stocked into ponds, fingerlings brought inside for feed training, and then restocked into ponds. Finally, the fish were harvested and brought back inside the facility for grow out utilizing a recirculating aquaculture system. It was determined that the Lake Mendota strain of yellow perch performed the best in this study and NADF was able to successfully bring yellow perch to market size in one year using a combination of pond and indoor recirculating systems. NADF successfully raised one group of fish to market size within 12 months in one recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). These fish were shipped to a private processor to evaluate yield. High yields were reported by the processor of up to 49%. Other performance information was gathered from these fish during rearing time period such as growth rate, feed conversion, sex ratios, as well as RAS parameters and cost information.

Baseline water quality parameters were determined over the course of the two years for the facility. The initial cost of the RAS system used for yellow perch at NADF was estimated at $100,000. This includes the system, and all plumbing and electrical supplies. Typical initial costs of an RAS system is $8-10/gallon of water. The average monthly electrical cost for the RAS system at NADF was $492.00 based on the electrical rate of $0.04/kw. The INVE fish food cost $208 (feed training), and the Silver Cup food cost an estimated $1900 (growout). This information was presented at NADF Field Days workshop on June 14-15, 2007, and is also available on the NADF webpage for interested parties. Monitoring activities for this SCA are somewhat different given the large distance between the GLWI and the SCA participants (Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, Stevens Point, WI). This year (February 2, 2007), we held a one-day conference at the GLWI where all participants were present. In addition to this, the RL and ADODR performed site visits (at the NADF) in August 2006 and June 2007. Lastly, other monitoring activities include e-mail, phone calls, attendance at meetings, and quarterly reports.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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