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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CATFISH GENETICS, BREEDING, AND PHYSIOLOGY Title: Effects of Organic Fertilization and "Organic" Diets on Production of Channel Catfish in Earthen Ponds

Authors
item Li, M - MISS. STATE UNIVERSITY
item Robinson, E - MISS. STATE UNIVERSITY
item Mischke, C - MISS. STATE UNIVERSITY
item Bosworth, Brian
item Torrans, Eugene

Submitted to: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 3, 2005
Publication Date: January 15, 2006
Citation: Li, M.H., Robinson, E.H., Mischke, C.C., Bosworth, B.G., Torrans, E.L. 2006. Effects of Organic Fertilization and "Organic" Diets on Production of Channel Catfish in Earthen Ponds. North American Journal of Aquaculture. 68:53-62.

Interpretive Summary: In recent years, there has been growing public interest in organically grown foods but there is a lack of information on effects of “organic” diets on catfish production. This study was initiated to evaluate effects of organic fertilization and “organic” diets on production of channel catfish from swim-up fry to fingerling and from fingerling to market size in earthen ponds. Although there are currently no organic standards for aquaculture in the USA, ponds were managed and fish fed according to a predetermined “organic” program largely based on guidelines of the USDA “organic” standards for livestock production. Production of catfish under “organic” conditions was compared to traditional catfish production (control) in earthen ponds. Fry to fingerling production was lower for “organic” conditions than for traditional production and may have been due to less desirable zooplankton (the primary food source for young fish) osberved with use of “organic” fertilizers. During the food fish production phase, there were no differences in production characteristics and carcass yield between conventionally and “organically” grown fish. However, “organic” fish had lower fillet yield and higher body fat than control fish which may have been due the higher fat content in the “organic” diet. Results indicate that channel catfish can be grown “organically”, though fingerling production may be lower in “organic” ponds.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluated effects of organic fertilization and “organic” diets on channel catfish production. During fingerling production, earthen ponds were fertilized with a combination of inorganic fertilizers and regular cottonseed meal (control) or organically produced cottonseed meal only (“organic”). Fry were stocked into ponds and fed a control or “organic” diet daily to apparent satiation for a growing season. During the food fish production phase control and “organic” fingerlings were restocked into 0.04-ha ponds at a rate of 14,800 fish/ha and fed a control or “organic” diet daily to apparent satiation for a growing season. Fish were raised with a predetermined “organic” program largely based on U.S. livestock organic standards since there were no organic aquaculture standards available in the USA. During the fry to fingerling phase, control ponds had higher total N and P, preferred zooplankton, and higher gross production than “organic” ponds. During the food fish production phase, there were no differences in production characteristics and carcass yield between conventionally and “organically” grown fish. However, “organic” fish had lower fillet yield and higher body fat than control fish. The higher body fat observed in “organic” fish mainly resulted from the higher fat content in the “organic” diet. Results indicate that channel catfish can be grown from swim-up fry to food size “organically”, though gross production during the first season may be lower in “organic” ponds.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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