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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING PRODUCTION STRATEGIES IN CHANNEL CATFISH FARMING

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Partitioned aquaculture systems

Authors
item Brune, David -
item Tucker, Craig -
item Massingil, Michael -
item Chappell, Jesse -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 2011
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Brune, D.E., Tucker, C.S., Massingil, M., Chappell, J. 2012. Partitioned aquaculture systems. In: Tidwell, J., editor. Aquaculture Production Methods. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. p. 308-342.

Interpretive Summary: This book chapter summarizes the developmental state the Partitioned Aquaculture System (PAS). Traditional aquaculture ponds simultaneously confine fish, produce dissolved oxygen, and treat wastes produced during culture. Combining these functions in the same space is inefficient because fish require relatively little area to live, while large areas are needed to produce oxygen and treat wastes. When fish are free-roaming throughout the whole pond, they are difficult to feed, harvest, treat when sick, and protect from predators. Most important, it is difficult to manage dissolved oxygen in large ponds. These inefficiencies are addressed in the PAS by physically separating the fish-confinement function from ecological functions to provide greater control over fish population and environmental conditions. The PAS has achieved annual catfish production of greater than 20,000 kg/ha. Subsequent developments of the PAS concept focus on lower-cost modifications, including the Mississippi “Split-Pond,” the Alabama “In-Pond Raceway,” and the California “Pondway.”

Technical Abstract: Conventional aquaculture ponds provide a number of ecological services supporting fish and shellfish production. The pond provides confinement space for the aquatic organisms, while algal growth in the pond serves as the base of an aquatic food chain providing some or all of the feed, depending on pond carrying capacity. In addition, algal growth removes potentially toxic carbon dioxide and ammonia from the pond and supplies oxygen. Other microbial, physical, and chemical processes assist in treatment of metabolic waste produced by the aquatic animals. In most ponds these functions occur simultaneously in the same space where the animals are cultured as they are allowed roam freely within the pond. The space required for animal confinement is much less than the area or volume needed to support the waste treatment functions. Consequently, combining animal-confinement and ecosystem support into the same physical space leads to inefficiencies and management difficulties. These inefficiencies are addressed in the Partitioned Aquaculture System (PAS), where the fish-confinement function is physically separated from ecological functions to provide greater control over fish populations and environmental conditions. This technique represents an adaptation of the “high-rate ponds” developed for treatment of municipal wastewater. The primary advantage provided by the high-rate pond and PAS is to increase algal production within the pond, accelerating ammonia assimilation and oxygen production. Channel catfish production in the PAS has exceeded 20,000 kg/ha. Subsequent developments of the PAS concept have concentrated on lower-cost modifications, including the Mississippi “Split-Pond,” the Alabama “In-Pond Raceway,” and the California “Pondway.” The goal of these modifications is to provide less control over pond ecology relative to the PAS, but at a lower cost.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014