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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: Catfish disease cases in in-pond raceway systems in Alabama: 2008-2013

Authors
item Roy, Luke -
item Hemstreet, William -
item Brown, Travis

Submitted to: Arkansas Aquafarming
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: December 16, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Production systems such as in-pond raceway systems (IPRS) and split-pond aquaculture systems are providing an alternative to traditional pond culture for raising catfish. Currently, there are over 1,300 water acres of production in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama utilizing split-pond production systems or IPRS. Despite the acceptance of these alternative culture technologies by a growing number of farmers there is still little data available on disease and parasite issues encountered by farmers raising fish in these systems. Farmers that are interested in potentially investing in these alternative culture systems are curious as to what disease problems are being encountered. The purpose of this article is to summarize some of the diseases that farmers have dealt with raising catfish in IPRS. From 2008 to September 2013, the Alabama Fish Farming Center (AFFC) received a total of 79 producer submitted diagnostic cases from five different IPRS (total of 18 raceways) from three different farms. Of those 79 cases, 35% were health checks where no disease/parasite was found or served as follow up checks for a previously diagnosed case. In most instances, the case represents a composite sample of all fish within the IPRS (all raceways), but there were a few cases that were treated on an individual raceway basis on the rare occasion that the disease was isolated to just one or two raceways within the IPRS (other raceways within the same IPRS were not infected). It is also worth noting that on many occasions fish were infected with more than one pathogen simultaneously such as Columnaris, enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), and gill parasites. Alternative systems such as the IPRS have a great deal of potential for increasing production and the profitability of raising catfish. Farmers that are considering investing in these systems should take note that we are still learning about the dynamics of disease in these alternative systems. Just like farmers that raise catfish in traditional earthen ponds, there have been some instances of disease that have resulted in mass mortalities in IPRS. More research and effort needs to be devoted to exploring disease incidences and the response of catfish to different treatment regimes in IPRS.

Technical Abstract: Production systems such as in-pond raceway systems (IPRS) and split-pond aquaculture systems are providing an alternative to traditional pond culture for raising catfish. Currently, there are over 1,300 water acres of production in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama utilizing split-pond production systems or IPRS. Despite the acceptance of these alternative culture technologies by a growing number of farmers there is still little data available on disease and parasite issues encountered by farmers raising fish in these systems. Farmers that are interested in potentially investing in these alternative culture systems are curious as to what disease problems are being encountered. The purpose of this article is to summarize some of the diseases that farmers have dealt with raising catfish in IPRS. From 2008 to September 2013, the Alabama Fish Farming Center (AFFC) received a total of 79 producer submitted diagnostic cases from five different IPRS (total of 18 raceways) from three different farms. Of those 79 cases, 35% were health checks where no disease/parasite was found or served as follow up checks for a previously diagnosed case. In most instances, the case represents a composite sample of all fish within the IPRS (all raceways), but there were a few cases that were treated on an individual raceway basis on the rare occasion that the disease was isolated to just one or two raceways within the IPRS (other raceways within the same IPRS were not infected). It is also worth noting that on many occasions fish were infected with more than one pathogen simultaneously such as Columnaris, enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), and gill parasites. Alternative systems such as the IPRS have a great deal of potential for increasing production and the profitability of raising catfish. Farmers that are considering investing in these systems should take note that we are still learning about the dynamics of disease in these alternative systems. Just like farmers that raise catfish in traditional earthen ponds, there have been some instances of disease that have resulted in mass mortalities in IPRS. More research and effort needs to be devoted to exploring disease incidences and the response of catfish to different treatment regimes in IPRS.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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