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I N C O R P O R AT I N G f i s h far m ing t e c h no l og y

July | August 2013 EXPERT TOPIC - CATFISH

International Aquafeed is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. Copyright 2013 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1464-0058

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Welcome to Expert Topic. Each issue will take an in-depth look at a particular species and how its feed is managed.


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World view
In 2009, the total channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) production was 449,753 tonnes with a value of more than US$658 million annually (FAO). Of this, the USA and China contributed 215, 887 tonnes and 223,233 tonnes respectively. Although the USA and China are the principal channel catfish producers, several other countries have channel catfish aquaculture industries. Brazil produced almost 3,000 tonnes in 2009 and Mexico has consistently produced in the region of 1,500 tonnes a year. Costa Ricas channel catfish industry started in the twenty-first century producing 100 tonnes a year. However, this tailed off and by 2009, production had fallen to just 10 tonnes. One country where the channel catfish industry has grown rapidly is Cuba where production rose from 105 tonnes in 2000 to 6,031 tonnes in 2009. In addition to the central and south American countries, there is some interest in the species in eastern Europe. In Russia, channel catfish production increased from 65 tonnes in 200 to 145 tonnes in 2009. Bulgaria has reported statistics to the FAO since 2005, although the amount produced is not consistent. A high of 166 tonnes in 2005 was followed by 60 tonnes a year later.



Since commercial farming of channel catfish began in the middle of the twentieth century, the species has been popular with US consumers. By 2010, channel catfish had cemented itself as a favourite on the nation's plates becoming the sixth most consumed fish or seafood in the USA, behind shrimp, tuna, salmon, tilapia and pollack. As input costs have risen, farmers have struggled to make catfish farming profitable and in recent years, the number of facilities has decreased. Acreage fell by 50 percent between 2001-2011. In 2012 there were 718 facilities, a drop of 191 from the previous year. This meant that the total acreage area also declined from almost 100,000 acres in 2011 to 89,400 acres in 2012 (National Ag Statistics Service 2012). Despite this fall in farms, total sales have been on the rise, amounting to US$341 million in 2012, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Four states, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, made up 95 percent of total United States sales (National Ag Statistics Service 2013).

Channel catfish aquaculture in China began in 1984 with fish imported from the USA. The fish was successfully reproduced in 1987 and pond culture started a year later. Current annual processing of channel catfish production in China is between 150,000 to 200,000 tons according to report by Cai Yanzhi (Hubei Province Aquatic Products Scientific Research Institute) and Xiao Youhong (National Fishery Technical Extension Station). From 2000, exports began to the USA. However, in 2007, the US food safety watchdog, the FDA, temporally halted catfish imports from China after traces of antibiotics banned in the USA were found in tested samples. Cai and Xiao argue that Chinese catfish is well poised to take advantage of falling US production, both to established catfish importers and the US itself. However, the report claims Chinese catfish exporters face huge challenges including a lack of standardisation on farms and processing facilities and strict food safety laws, particularly in the USA.

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Early history of the U.S. farmraised catfish industry - 1914-1973

by Jim Steeby, PhD, associate professor emeritus, Mississippi State University, USA

Catfish eggs and fry were found in the nail kegs confirming their use by the brooders. He also noted that catfish would readily consume a variety of feedstuffs. Several state and federal fish hatcheries worked with spawning and growing catfish over the next ten years.

s early as 1914 a researcher by the name of A F Shira spawned adult channel catfish by placing them in a small pond at the U.S. Bureau Fisheries Station in Fairport, Iowa. The fish were provided with cheese and minnows as forage during the experiment. By 1916, Shira had placed nail kegs in the ponds with the brood fish to provide them with semi natural spawning cavities. Of course in the wild, most catfish species lay their egg mass in hollow logs or tunnels left by muskrats and beavers that are flooded.

Catfish in Kansas
By 1929 a biologist named Alvin Clapp at the Kansas State Hatchery at Pratt Kansas with his facility manager, Seth Way, completed the modern catfish hatchery system we know today. As demonstrated by Dose in 1925 at this same facility, they placed sexed adult catfish in ponds with nail kegs for spawning. They removed the egg masses from the kegs to an indoor hatchery with troughs and flowing water. The egg masses were placed in wire mesh baskets suspended in troughs

for hatching and provided rotating paddles first powered by water and later by electric motors. By 1930, the propagation catfish was easily accomplished and crude feeds had been successfully used to provide them with nutrition. In 1946, the first commercial catfish farm of record was started in Kingman, Kansas by W E Bus Hartley. It should be noted that Kingman is not far from the Kansas Fish Hatchery in Pratt were a great deal of the early work was completed. Indeed, Seth Way near the end of his career retired from the Pratt Hatchery and partnered with Hartley. The photo shows Hartley and Way standing near their ponds in Kingman, Kansas. Hartley saw the increasing demand for catfish to stock into private ponds as hobby fishing was on the rise. While Hartley grew minnows as well as bass and bluegill, by the early 1950s catfish was over half his annual production. Working with local

Billy McKinney

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FEATURE EXPERT TPIC several millimeters to less than 0.001 micron. feed mills he created one Fine filtration systems, such as microscreen of the early dry feed pellet drum filters which are already commonly diets for catfish. Some of the used in aquaculture, typically require much early work on catfish diets larger filter screens and/or higher pressures to was carried out in Kansas operate effectively than a screen with larger by Dr Otto W Tiemeier at openings. Kansas State University. In 1974 Hartley was Centrifuges and hydro clones selected as Catfish Farmer Centrifuges and hydro clones are growing of the Year at the annual in popularity as they cross from domestic use convention in Memphis, into commercial use. Cylindrical in shape, the Tennessee. By this time he mechanism rotates the central chamber very had been fish farming for rapidly, forcing waste particles that are denser 30 years and had over 100 than the water to the sides of the cylinder. A ponds and 290 acres under layer of water from the outer rim is then taken water. He hatched, grew out, which removes most of the particles with and processed his own fish. it, leaving the clean water in the centre to be He served on the board put back into the aquaculture system. of directors for the Catfish Bruce Atkinson, aquaculture design and Farmers of America from its sales manager, Aquasonic, Australia, says cenfounding. Indeed, Kingman trifugal solutions such as Watercos new was noted as the catfish range of MultiCyclone filters can allow you to capital of Kansas by those increase stocking rates. around the area. Central The link between feed rates and Kansas, from Pratt to Kingman, could be conMultiCyclones is fairly obvious for fish culture sidered the cradle of the farm-raised catfish systems, says Atkinson. With the addition industry. of the MultiCyclone, more efficient mechanical filtration takes place and hence greater Developments in Arkansas volumes of feed can be introduced without The nursery of the farm-raised catfish system fouling caused by organic deposition industry was Arkansas. Here minnow farmand bacterial proliferation. ing had been in large practice since the late This means stocking rates can be increased, with subsequent improved production. MultiCyclones in fish culture systems are best deployed on the system return pump prior to, say, bag or cartridge polishing filters on the way back to the fish tank. Watercos commercial MultiCyclone

Sand or bead filters

Sand or bead filters can be either fixed bed and particle bed filters that consist of a box filled with sand or another particulate material. To achieve fine particle filtration, the filter medium should be very fine grain and may also need to be pressurised. Water passes through the fixed bed either in a downward direction or and upward direction (down flow and up flow), and waste particles are removed by the sand/beads. The size of particles removed depends on the size of the filter medium, flow rate and waste characterisTom Reed, F B. Janous and Leroy Reed tics. A sand/bead filter may need frequent backwashing if waste is very concentrated. 1930s and early 1940s. Growing baitfish and Floatation or foam bass and bluegill gave these farmers a hand fractionation and it could be said a wadder-up on the Floatation or foam fractionation is a transport, handling and husbandry of fish. form of chemical filtration; this type of Among those starting early and standing filtration is able to retrieve very fine out was Eagar Farmer of Dumus, Arkansas. particles from an aquaculture sysBuffalo fish (Ictiobus sp.) was an early meat tem, and is consequently already fish grown by Arkansas fish farmers. It was hardy and had a ready market that continues until today. As catfish became more popular and profitable the switch from buffalo fish was rapid. In 1973, when he was selected as catfish farmer of the year at the annual Catfish Farmers of America Convention in New Orleans, LA, Eagar Farmer had over 1,000 acres of catfish

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production. He was also one of the founders of a catfish processing cooperative in Dumas and a long time board member for Catfish Farmers of America. Arkansas fish farmers relied heavily on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Station at Stuttgart, Arkansas directed by Kermit Sneed, and the Marine Fisheries Service Gear Technology Station at Kelso, Arkansas directed by Donald Greenland, for new information and technical advice. Early Stuttgart staff included a full range of experts: Mayo Martin (extension), Walt Hastings (nutrition), Dewey Tackett (chemist), and Fred Meyer (disease diagnostics).

In the 1960s as Arkansas was switching to catfish, Alabama began to play a role in the early phases of university research and processing. At Auburn, Dr Homer Swingle had been constructing farm ponds and

investigating their use beginning in 1940. His early work with the science of recreational pond management left Auburn in place to train a growing number of students and easily move to catfish and many other species. He began nutrition work on catfish as early as 1950. The Federal hatchery in Marion, Alabama began under the direction of Jack Snow (an Auburn graduate) in 1950, and was a great source of help to fish farmers. Early commercial pioneers in Alabama beginning from around 1960 include Richard True, Check Stephens and Joe Glover. They used the information published by Kermit Sneed and Howard Clemens to artificially induce spawning of channel catfish using hormones on a commercial basis. They instituted the first recorded use of a commercial skinning machine to remove the skin of catfish. Previously it was done by hand with gripping pliers. True and Glover moved to Mississippi in the early 1970s as the industry was rapidly shifting to the delta. They both worked many
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years in large scale commercial processing. They were also instrumental in starting the Catfish Marketing Association in 1972. This early promotion of the industry paid for by processors, appeared at food shows and national restaurant association meetings and was likely critical to the industry growth that would follow in the 1970s and 1980s. Those remaining in Alabama farming for many years were William Easterling, Dan Butterfield, David Pearce, and Thad Spree.

The catfish industry comes of age in Mississippi

The catfish industry grew up and came of age in Mississippi. With its warm climate and vast land acres of heavy clay soil and abundant ground water it was the fertile place where resources were nearly unlimited. Here large farms with land forming equipment could quickly construct ponds and have wells installed. Billy McKinney and his partner, Raymond Brown were the first farmers of record (1965) to construct a pond to produce a large crop of catfish, 10,000 pounds, that when harvested had to be transported some 600 miles to central Kansas to be processed and sold. In the next year he would partner with other farmers, including Tom Reed, Leroy Reed, and B F Janous, John Peaster, T R Coleman, Melvin and W F Anderson among others to form a local processing plant in Morgan City,


FOCUS | PROBIOTICS MS. They opened a catfish restaurant nearby shortly after in 1967. probiotic on carcass tableIn 9: the effects of 1960s Hydroyeast aquaculture mid Bobby Thompson and composition of adult female O. niloticus W F Skinner Anderson teamed up to grow % on dryfor matter basis hatch and grow fingerlings the rapidly expanding industry. By 1970 the catfish C treat. DM CP ee ash eC industry established in Mississippi, at the start was of thewell experiment Arkansas and Alabama. 5.1 24.3 59.2 23.6 17.1 557.5 In 1974, dissatisfied with the quality and at the start of the experiment price of commercial catfish feed several grow0.4a t5 20.9b 53.9c 26.8a 19.1a 557.7b ers, including Tom Reed III, organised a grow2.9b t6 feed 22.4a 60.2a 24.1b 15.7b 566.9a er-owned mill near Belzoni, Mississippi. This producers feed mill would serve the 1.8c t7 17.1d 55.7b 25.7a 18.5a 557.6b industry as a major source of feed for the .5bc t8 18.4c 55.6bc 25.7a 18.6a 559.9b next 20 years. 21 Se 0.09 0.50 0.44 0.29 2.54 The expanding industry in Mississippi 001 P- value to 0.0001 0.0001 0.015and 0.0001 0.070 began experience fish health cantly Means inquality the same column having different small letters are significantly water problems on a large scale. Ether differ (P advice 0.05).and DM:input Dry matter CP: Crude With from (%); county agent protein (%); EE: Ether g to extract (%); EC: Energy content (Kcal/100 g), calculated according to Tommy Taylor and growers, Mississippi NRC (1993); SE: Standard Error State University initiated disease diagnostic, extension and research services to catfish for growth and growing pains for the next 30 farmers under Leader Dr Tom Wellborn years to come. these results ash content increased significantly in within all treatments concerning, from 1971-1987. By 1999, the industry had expanded to ients utilization parameters may T3 and T4 compared with T2 and the control over four times the water acres in 1970 differences in sexes, metabolism, T1. Generally, proximate chemical analysis of the with Mississippi alone having over 100,000 Spreading throughout the USA esponses and sexual behaviours whole fish body at the start, revealed higher DM, 1970, the U.S. farm- water acres of ponds. Thousands of people EE and EC than in the end of the experiment, this stage of life.Between 1960 and raised catfish industry but CP and ash were lower at the start than at went from 600 acres would be involved with feed manufacture, to 40,000 acres. In the end of the experiment. 1970 Catfish farms feeding, harvesting, processing, research ss composition were found in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and extension phases of the expanding Female industry. Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Adult female O. niloticus fed the 5 g chemical analysis of the whole Expansion of the U.S. Farm-Raised Georgia and Kansas. The stage was now set niloticus body at the start and at Hydroyeast Aquaculture/kg diet (T6)

The Pratt museum Catfish industry for the next 30 years and the decline from 2002 to present day are two more stories for another time. Here we celebrate those early pioneers that worked with many unknowns and set the course for most of us that followed. It should be noted here that the State Fish Hatchery at Pratt, Kansas is still in operation and the Hartley Fish Hatchery at Kingman is still operated by Bus Hartleys sons, Bill and Jerry.

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