Arkansas Extension supports catfish production in the Mississippi Delta
Arkansas catfish production acreage has declined over the past two decades, but consumer demand has increased so there is a need for greater production efficiency on less acreage. Two production systems that improve yields and production efficiency are the split-pond system and the intensive aeration system. These systems allow for 15,000 or more pounds per acre of catfish produced compared to 4,000 to 5,000 pounds per acre using traditional pond methods.
With fish concentrated in a smaller area, feeding quantity, harvesting and aeration use is improved and disease treatments are reduced since smaller volumes of water are being treated. Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service specialists monitor the water quality in these systems. The value of that service is $60 per acre for a total of $18,800.
Production estimates using these systems will exceed 5 million pounds of fish at a value of $6 million. With the “6X” multiplier rate for catfish farming, the economic impact in the Mississippi Delta could add $36 million to local economies.