Improving Hybrid Catfish Production Efficiency Through Early Out of Season Broodstock Conditioning

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

BAXTER LAND COMPANY ,INC
114 E SPEEDWAY ST
Dermott, AR 71638
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Profit margins in commercial catfish production continue to shrink due to increased production costs, economic inflation, and increased foreign competition. In order to compete, catfish producers must become more efficient. Research has shown that progeny resulting from the hybridization of channel catfish eggs and blue catfish sperm exhibit faster growth, improved feed conversion efficiency and improved disease resistance and yield as compared to traditional lines of channel catfish. Production of channel x blue hybrid embryos however, requires much more labor and requires a more regimented production schedule than traditional channel catfish production techniques. Traditional methods require production of hybrids during the peak of the natural catfish spawn as a larger percentage of females have mature oocytes at this time. Because our hatchery space, labor, and water resources must be fully committed to channel catfish production throughout the peak of the channel catfish spawn, we can not produce large quantities of hybrids during this time frame. Therefore, our objective is to develop a process to induce early maturation of catfish gametes in order to produce hybrid catfish in the three weeks prior to the traditional spawning period. Research will focus on determining the feasibility of utilizing existing geothermal well water and recently developed ultrasound techniques to monitor oocyte development and improve the timing of ovulation and fertilization. Improved survival of hybrid catfish embryos produced early in the season would represent a major step forward in hybrid catfish production and would increase significantly the number of hybrid fingerlings available for stocking.