Experimental cage culture of channel catfish in Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Three strains of channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), from the southeastern United States were cultured in cages to select a strain that would attain a marketable size during the relatively short Virginia growing season. The strains were compared in terms of yield, survival, mean weight, food conversion, coefficient of condition, and percent marketable fish. Statistical analysis indicated that the Kansas strain was significantly different from both the Arkansas and North Carolina strains, but the latter two were not significantly different with respect to yield, mean weight, food conversion, and percent marketable fish. A financial analysis, conducted to evaluate the feasibility of culturing channel catfish in cages moored in small farm ponds, showed that the fish would have to be sold for more than .610perkg(.277/lb.) to make the operation profitable. Cage culture of channel catfish is possible in Virginia, but is not generally recommended for small still-water farm ponds.