Submitted to: Aquaculture America Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2005
Publication Date: February 13, 2006
Citation: Bosworth, B.G., Torrans, E.L. 2006. Production and processing traits of blue catfish, blue catfish x channel catfish hybrids, and three strains of channel catfish [Abstract]. Book of Abstracts. Aquaculture America, February 13-16, 2006, Las Vegas, Nevada. p. 34. Technical Abstract: The channel catfish is the primary species used in commercial catfish farming. As the catfish farming industry has matured, increased incidence of disease and associated economic losses have led to speculation that reevaluation of other catfish species or hybrids is warranted. Objectives of this study were to compare blue catfish, blue x channel catfish hybrids, and Norris, USDA 103, and USDA 203 channel catfish strains for production and processing traits. Trials were conducted in earthen ponds, using stocking densities, diets, and management guidelines commonly used by commercial catfish farmers. Hybrid catfish were superior overall to the blue and channel catfish strains for growth, survival and fillet yield, however availability of hybrid fry remains a constraining factor to their widespread commercial use. Blue catfish had better fingerling growth and survival than channel catfish, but growth to market weight was similar for blue and channel catfish. Fillet yield was higher for channel catfish than for blue catfish in the fall, but higher for blue catfish in the spring. Processing of blue catfish would require adjustments to fillet machines currently set for processing of channel catfish. Although not observed in the current study, blue catfish are reported to have poor tolerance of handling stress and low oxygen. Issues related to handling and oxygen requirements need to be addressed to fully determine the commercial potential of blue catfish.