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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY IN WARM WATER AQUACULTURE THROUGH WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: A trap panel for in-pond raceways to capture escaped catfish

Authors
item Brown, Travis
item Powe, Willard -
item Roy, Luke -

Submitted to: The Catfish Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2014
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Citation: Brown, T.W., Powe, W., Roy, L. 2014. A trap panel for in-pond raceways to capture escaped catfish. The Catfish Journal. 27(7):21-23.

Interpretive Summary: The first commercial-scale in-pond raceway system (IPRS) used to produce catfish in west Alabama was constructed from funds by a joint effort involving the Alabama Catfish Producers Association, Dean Wilson Farms, and Auburn University. The goal of this project was to improve profitability of catfish farming by demonstrating methods to achieve high levels of survival, feed performance, and efficiency in a commercial farm setting. After stocking catfish it was determined that a large percentage of fish were missing from the raceways. Fish basically pushed their way through and around the mesh wire attached to the barrier panel. Consequently, each fish panel had to be redesigned and rebuilt to eliminate fish from escaping the raceways. After resolving this issue the remaining fish were inventoried and re-stocked into the raceways while additional fingerlings and stockers were stocked to replace the escaped fish. In 2012 a fish barrier panel was modified into a trap panel. One of the six raceways was harvested and left empty and the trap panel was installed at the outflow end (downstream side) of the raceway. Feed was delivered daily in the raceway with the trap panel over a three week period in hopes of attracting and trapping catfish. Catfish were then harvested out of the raceway with a boom truck and fish samples were collected to determine average fish size. A total of 1.5 tons ($675 at $450/ton) of feed was fed over the trapping period to attract catfish through the trap panel into the raceway. There were approximately 5,400 lb of catfish harvested with an average individual weight of 1.7 lb (3,167 head). These fish were sold for $0.85/lb or a total price of $4,590. An additional 10,000 lb of catfish were harvested with an average weight of about 6.0 lb (1,667 head). This yielded a 65.5% recapture of escaped fish using the trap panel over the three week time period assuming no natural spawns occurred. Escaped fish are also common in split-ponds and in some cases trap panels could be used to achieve the same goal as with an IPRS. There needs to be a method and way to re-capture escaped catfish efficiently. The expense to remove escaped catfish from these systems can be great as there are costs associated with harvest and ‘scrap out’, re-flooding the pond, and adding amendments to the re-flooded pond. Additionally if the pond is drained there will be associated ‘down time’ from lost fish production. A trap panel offers a partial solution to this problem and future studies will determine proper design and management approaches using this technology to recapture escaped fish in these systems.

Technical Abstract: The first commercial-scale in-pond raceway system (IPRS) used to produce catfish in west Alabama was constructed from funds by a joint effort involving the Alabama Catfish Producers Association, Dean Wilson Farms, and Auburn University. The goal of this project was to improve profitability of catfish farming by demonstrating methods to achieve high levels of survival, feed performance, and efficiency in a commercial farm setting. After stocking catfish it was determined that a large percentage of fish were missing from the raceways. Fish basically pushed their way through and around the mesh wire attached to the barrier panel. Consequently, each fish panel had to be redesigned and rebuilt to eliminate fish from escaping the raceways. After resolving this issue the remaining fish were inventoried and re-stocked into the raceways while additional fingerlings and stockers were stocked to replace the escaped fish. In 2012 a fish barrier panel was modified into a trap panel. One of the six raceways was harvested and left empty and the trap panel was installed at the outflow end (downstream side) of the raceway. Feed was delivered daily in the raceway with the trap panel over a three week period in hopes of attracting and trapping catfish. Catfish were then harvested out of the raceway with a boom truck and fish samples were collected to determine average fish size. A total of 1.5 tons ($675 at $450/ton) of feed was fed over the trapping period to attract catfish through the trap panel into the raceway. There were approximately 5,400 lb of catfish harvested with an average individual weight of 1.7 lb (3,167 head). These fish were sold for $0.85/lb or a total price of $4,590. An additional 10,000 lb of catfish were harvested with an average weight of about 6.0 lb (1,667 head). This yielded a 65.5% recapture of escaped fish using the trap panel over the three week time period assuming no natural spawns occurred. Escaped fish are also common in split-ponds and in some cases trap panels could be used to achieve the same goal as with an IPRS. There needs to be a method and way to re-capture escaped catfish efficiently. The expense to remove escaped catfish from these systems can be great as there are costs associated with harvest and ‘scrap out’, re-flooding the pond, and adding amendments to the re-flooded pond. Additionally if the pond is drained there will be associated ‘down time’ from lost fish production. A trap panel offers a partial solution to this problem and future studies will determine proper design and management approaches using this technology to recapture escaped fish in these systems.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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