Freshwater Micro-Organism

Larger image (Magnified above at 40x)

Another freshwater critter of curiosity I caught dancing around among the algae. Though its green like algae, it moves about on its own. A noticeable feature, was the bright reddish spot...

Sharon wrote: I noticed on your page you have a very similar phytoplankton to the one I found.

But it is not the same species. I want to identify the species. Mine has a red dot on it, which looks like an eye, but I do not believe it is in an eye.

Please can you help me to identify this species?

Thank you, Sharon Mooney


It's almost certainly a euglenoid.

IF it was flexible in motion (e.g., the cell body itself flexible, not just the flagella), it is almost certainly a member of the genus Euglena.

The red spot is in fact an 'eyespot' - it's a very primitive eye that allows the euglena to detect light -- a big advantage for a mobile photosynthesizer.

Dr. Rochelle Sturtevant
Extension Educator
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

Heres the same magnified by combination of microscope and camera


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Photos and Video of Euglena, Page One
Photos of Euglena, Page Two
Euglena Images, Page Three

Euglena Images, Page Four

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Hit the Microscopy Jackpot

I just figured out how to capture images, nearly picture perfect as they appear under the microscope lens. My camera (Canon PowerShot S3IS) has a setting for "Sports" shots. It captures shots split second while reducing blur. So, the incredible result appears below:
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Image #1 magnified at 40x

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Image #2 magnified at 40x

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Image #3 magnified at 40x

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Image #4 magnified at 40x

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Image #5 magnified at 40x

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Image #6 magnified at 40x
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Feeding the Catfish

Chad at BCC told us he was going to feed the catfish, and if we wanted to see them come up to eat... to follow. I captured some neat shots today, with the catfish surfacing for food pellets.



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Catfish surfacing...

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Catfish surfacing... and food pellets floating nearby in the water.

Catfish video - Windows Media Player
4967 kilobytes / 4.96 meg
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Several years ago (around 2003) I made my mind up that one day, I was going to photograph a volvox after learning about these fascinating little creatures. They're somewhere between the plant and animal kingdom. A volvox is a colony of sisters, but they use photosynthesis / chlorophyll like plants do.
Made a goal, stuck to it, and made it happen.

Today, after all this time, I captured my first volvox. Mind you, it's not much of one, but it is a volvox. And, for all case and purpose, that's what matters. I've tried multiple samples of algae over the weekend, and today I tried a new pond out (out back of the Aquaculture facility) and in the dissection microscope, I saw a volvox. Twice it was lost behind other material, but alas I did capture it on my camera.
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The volvox was located at the lower right hand corner of the photograph. Photograph made at Brunswick Community College by me of course. *smile*

Later this evening, I did capture a clean, green little volvox... all to itself, and made video and photos of it.



Additional Links
Volvox, Images and Videos, Pg. 1
Volvox, Photographs, Pg. 2
Volvox, Photographs, Pg. 3
Volvox, Photographs, Pg. 4
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Identifying Algae

Algae sample
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Image captured by digital camera. I had more success at capturing a clearer image, in fewer shots by _not_ using "Super Macro" feature on my camera.
Algae sample
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This image was produced by the microscope software.

The question is, which strain of algae am I looking at? Several in the guide my instructor gave me bear resemblance to those in the charts.
17. Spirogyra (comparing with Google images, Spirogyra appears to bear similarity, but I have my doubts this is the identification.)
18, 19. Mougeotia though long and divided into section like my sample, I have my doubts.
20. Zygnema *also shares many similarities with the sample I've captured, but I have my doubts this is the identification.
28. Microspora
Algae sample
Although Microspora appears to bear striking similarities as well.
Source: Class Chlorophyceae

29. Ulothrix, possibly...
30. Oedogonium, another possibility.
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Spring Break

Since this is my "college journal" of sorts to tell the world my joy, whoa and tribulations... I'm really looking forward to upcoming Spring Break. aaaarrrrggghhh... I really hope I'm going to be able to catch up on all the loose ends with my school-work.

John (instructor at BCC) recently gave me a printout, "Aid to the recognition of Fresh-Water Algae, Invertebrates, and Fishes"... after peering through the microscope for several hours and seeing such diversity of life-forms in different samples of water (three to date),
1. John's "Algae tank",
2. a sample strained from a salt-water tank, and lastly,
3. the BCC Aquaculture Ctr. has a tiny pond with lily pads growing in it. I began seeing the significance of the paper he gave me.

Lilypad pond

Lilypad pond
Lilypads in a tiny pond in front of BCC Aquaculture Ctr.

I'm thinking to go through the samples one at a time, and capture each in photograph, and video if its interesting...
Water Samples under Microscope

Water Samples under Microscope
What's frustrating... it may take 25 or 50 or more shots, via exterior digital camera (using super-macro, to even get one good clear image through the lens of my microscope). Even these shots... the best of the batch, came out blurry. The software program which was included with the microscope I purchased is good, but it can never match the light, and quality of the real-life scene I'm seeing through the lens of the microscope. Capturing a high-focused, quality and true-to-life image, takes a lot of time, and needless to say, a lot of work.

-- ... then document more detailed information about the lifeform...
what it is, and what it does. This, along with so many other things I'm caught up in, like our final research project (I chose disection of a fish) and honestly haven't made the first crack at working on it [too many other things I'm wrapped up into] I have my schedule stretched out so thin, to do and accomplish so much, I emphasize aaaarrrrggghhh... I need more time to do it all.
I'm over-extended. But I really do love it. The Aquaculture center has so many interesting things going on it. I just sorted through some of my recent photographs, like this one of the crawfish the center has growing in a trough out in the hatchery.


So many interesting things to learn about, but so little time. College was definately the right choice for me, although I'm not the youngest student (mid-late 30's) but it's never too late to start learning something new. I just couldn't get enough information from the web, and I couldn't afford all the books on Amazon required to get where I want to be in my personal studies / hobbies. Our local meterologist George Elliot, WECT News 6 said, when you stop learning new things, you stop growing. So, it's never too late to get back into school.
My interest in marine biology has been growing since I first became interested in Cetaceans (whales, porpoise, dolphins) back in 2001, followed by a growing interest in mollusks, which developed from some trips to the beach and sifting through beachdrift... little creatures often taken for granted by tourists who walk right by, stepping on the shells and sometimes breaking them... which is bad, on the occasion, say an Angelwing, a very fragile shell washes up in one piece on the shoreline, and they do on a rare occasion. It dawned on me, each of the species I was looking at, have a unique story to tell. I began finding out what those stories are. Marine Biologist Terry K. Hathaway with NC Sea Grant has helped to identify most of those species, and I really have appreciated the input.

Right now, Algebra is what's dragging my schedule down. My Algebra instructor told me I should have taken his course, when not taking as many other courses -- making more time to focus on Algebra. But on a positive note, I'm about to complete another course that ends mid-term, and that may free up more time to devote to Algebra studies, at least hopefully, ideally...
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Omega 3 Fish Oil Reducing Heart Disease

Yesterday "Doc" Doug Holland told our Aquaculture class that especially coldwater fish is good for your health, to eat it at least twice a week. I didn't understand why exactly, but he said it has positive effects on heart disease, "hardening of the arteries"...

I just checked the web for further info (a government source will suffice):
Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant/nut oils. Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while some nuts (English walnuts) and vegetable oils (canola, soybean, flaxseed/linseed, olive) contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

There is evidence from multiple studies supporting intake of recommended amounts of DHA and EPA in the form of dietary fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques ("hardening of the arteries"), and lowers blood pressure slightly. However, high doses may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding. Although similar benefits are proposed for alpha-linolenic acid, scientific evidence is less compelling, and beneficial effects may be less pronounced.

Some species of fish carry a higher risk of environmental contamination, such as with methylmercury.
Source: Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid
Omega 3 fish oil

Recently, I bought a tub of Wal-Mart's Omega 3 Fish Oil, 1000 mg, based solely on the fact, my parents use to buy it at times. I thought it had to do with heart-related health.

There seems to be quite a lot of information on what Doc said, about the positive effects Omega fish oils have on reduced hardening of the arteries.
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Microscopy of Algae

The small splot in the middle
is the tiny drop being magnified.

Algae 40x the size of the actual drop.

Here's the drop

Pretty amazing toy.
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Freshwater Microscopy

Two new items on the web.

John Baka, instructor at Brunswick Community College's Aquaculture Program shares photos of pests that affect North Carolina fish culture... fish eggs, and other great stuff.
John Baka, BCC Aquaculture Instructor
John and Fish Eggs at BCC

Freshwater Microbes
Photos of microscopic organisms from a freshwater sample. Videos and images of freshwater algae and insects.
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Photographs of Snails, Catfish and Lily

Here's a recent addition to the alternate site with my first microscopy shot of Qui nosce mysterium that's Latin for who the heck knows? and a lot of other "neat stuff" taken at the college.

John and Chad will have to help me identify all those neat critters that'll be seen floating up under the microscope...

WOW, Sharon. What a neat shot! The only thing I see in there is a chain of diatoms that I can't identify -- it could be /Melosira,/ /Skeletonema/, or /Biddulphia/.

I would love to see more plankton photos when you get them! I enjoyed the other photos also.

Terri K. Hathaway
Marine Education Specialist
North Carolina Sea Grant

Lily the Bird Dog
A snapshot of Lily, the College's Bird-Dog

Video and Digital Photographs of Microscopic Worms

  • Videos and Photos of Microscopic Worms, February 22, 2007, Salt Water Sample from BCC
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    Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture

    The latest eMagazine (Oct-Dec 2006) of the Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network is now available for download and the following topics are in this latest issue:

    1. Second Workshop on Economics and Marketing of Live Reef Fish in the Asia-Pacific.

    2. Marine finfish market information and aquaculture development trends in selected locations in Indonesia and Malaysia.

    3. Brief overview of the 2nd International Symposium on Cage Aquaculture in Asia (CAA2).

    4. Skretting Scholars take new knowledge home after NACA hatchery course.

    5. Market analysis of the live reed food fish trade.

    Read article in its entirety.
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    Breeding fish at Kenyir Dam

    Company in project to breed fish at Kenyir Dam
    R. S. N. Murali

    A Negri Sembilan-based aquaculture trader has responded promptly to a call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to the private sector to play its role in turning the National High Impact Aquaculture Industry Zone (ZIA) project into a successful venture.
    T. Bitara Sdn Bhd of Oakland Commercial Park in Seremban will introduce state-of-art technology from China and Japan in freshwater fish breeding at Kenyir Dam soon.
    The company’s chief executive officer Herman Nyam said the multi-million-ringgit project on a joint venture basis with a foreign company was expected to be initiated after the Chinese New Year celebrations.
    “We will have a brand new start for the New Year creating job opportunities for locals,” he said after visiting the proposed project site at Kenyir Dam together with his director Shamsul Bahari recently.
    Nyam said the company felt Terengganu was suitable for the introduction of the latest technology as the state was investor-friendly and willing to render assistance to businessmen at any time.
    “We are looking at a technology which will increase the output of fish production in a short span of time and therefore we cannot afford to have red tape imposed especially in the licensing process,” he said.
    Nyam said the company’s fish project at Talang Dam in Negri Sembilan had yielded robust growth since it was started five years ago.
    “With the support of the Negri government, the fish is being marketed to China, Japan, Taiwan, the United States and India,” he said.
    Nyam said that fresh graduates would be given the opportunity to manage the project in Kenyir Dam once the project was launched.
    “These graduates will be head-hunted to manage the project and we expect to absorb 30 of them at the pioneer stage to manage our project,” he said.
    Read the article in its entirety.
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    Can fish farming save depleted cod?

    February 07, 2007
    By Simon Rabinovitch
    LONDON (Reuters) - Cod, a mainstay food from Britain to Brazil, all but disappeared from Canadian waters in the 1990s after years of overfishing, and scientists say a similar fate awaits the shoals of the North Sea.

    But fish farms are putting cod back in North Sea water, at least within enclosed sea pens, easing the strain on wild fisheries and, fish farmers say, protecting a species that would otherwise be fished into extinction.

    Off the Shetland Islands in northeast Scotland, Johnson Sustainable Seafoods is providing what it says is a model of good farming practice.

    Given more space to roam around their pens and fed a natural diet, the Shetland cod farm has won the backing of Britain's Organic Food Federation.

    "Fish farming can be the saviour," said Karol Rzepkowski, managing director of the company. "It takes a little bit of left-field thinking, having the right ethic and the right ethos, and it can be done right," Rzepkowski said.


    The Shetland farm expects to harvest 2,500 tonnes of cod this year and aims to double its output in 2008. Other producers include Pan Fish in Norway, which recently acquired Marine Harvest to become the world's leading fish farming group.

    Much more is needed, though, if cod farming is help redress the decline in the wild population. Globally, the wild catch has plunged to about 1 million tonnes a year from 4 million in the 1960s. Stocks in northern waters, especially the Barents Sea, remain strong, but the World Wildlife Federation and others warn that overfishing is changing that.

    Experts say it will be a long time before farmed cod production rivals the wild catch. "I don't think at this stage we are anywhere close to that," said Barrie Deas, chief executive of the Britain's National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO).

    Farmed cod will also be hard pressed to match the popularity of farmed salmon, more than one million tonnes of which were consumed last year, say aquaculture analysts at Norway's Kontali Analyze.

    Salmon is better suited to aquaculture and its distinctive pink hue offers a marketing advantage over cod's white anonymity, Kontali Analyze noted.


    For now, attracting more attention than production figures is Johnson's claim that it is raising the world's first organic, sustainable cod.

    One staunch opponent of the aquaculture industry is Bruce Sandison, chairman of the Salmon Farm Protest Group, based in Scotland. Barely pausing for breath, he reels off a list of problems: diseases have spread in crowded sea pens; farmed fish have escaped and damaged wild stocks; the farmed product is less healthful for consumers.

    "The same thing is going to happen with cod," he said, pointing out that a disease called Francisella decimated about half the cod in a Norwegian fish farm in 2005.

    "What we're playing with here is a wild species that has existed on the planet since probably the end of the last ice age. We're pushing that toward extinction, and we're going to replace it with a totally artificial species."

    Questions have also been raised about the sustainability of fish farming. It takes a huge cull of smaller wild fish, about four tonnes worth, to feed every single ton of the captive population.

    The Shetland farm has found a way around this problem. All its cod are fed with the "off-cuts" -- scraps destined to be discarded -- of wild fish already caught for human consumption.

    "I doubt if that would be practical if the kind of expansion that is envisaged takes place," said Deas of Britain's National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations.

    Aware of this limitation, researchers are beginning to consider alternative food sources, raising a distant prospect of truly sustainable fish farming. And if organic farms are also successful in curtailing harm to the broader environment, aquaculture could win over more of its critics.

    "There would not be a lot left for us to moan about," said Tom Pickerell, a fisheries policy officer at the World Wildlife Fund-UK.


    In the meantime, Johnson's Shetland cod has been able to lure a growing number of customers. Sold under the No Catch brand name, it is available in hundreds of Tesco and Sainsbury's supermarkets across Britain.

    "It allows people to enjoy cod but without having any sort of guilty conscience about where that cod is coming from," said Joanna Keohane, spokeswoman for Tesco.

    The avoidance of guilt is clearly a powerful influence in some markets: British shoppers are happy to pay a premium for the farmed cod over its wild brethren.

    Copyright © 2007 Reuters, All Rights Reserved.
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    Common Carp

    Notes from Fundamentals of Aquaculture, James W. Avault, Jr., Ph.D., pgs. 86-93

    The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is the longest and most widespread cultured finfish.
    Common Carp
    Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
    From Амурский сазан, Vertebrata

    The common carp has been cultivated for 2400 years in China and 1900 years in Japan and widely distributed throughout the world. The common carp is farmed as far north in freezing regions such as the former Soviet Union and as far south as the Phillippines where it is cultivated in rice fields. In Austria, the Christmas carp is an important tradition and in many Asian countries carp serves as an important source of animal protein.

    In 1965, Carp was recorded to have contributed 231,525 tons to the world fish supply, which excludes production in China which would exceed all combined figures. In all a total of 1.65 million tons of common and Chinese carp was grown there in 1965, but the last estimate could be half too low.

    Through selective breeding, strains of carp have been developed over the centuries, including the leather carp and mirror carp. These two strains have remained in use, while others discarded. Carp breeding has continued around the world, with the mirror carp strain, now referred to as the "Israeli carp".

    In China, a fully scaled strain of common carp, known as the big-belly carp, evolved, withstanding harsh environment of overcrowding and poor water quality. This fish strain is one of the few culture species which is considered truly domesticated.

    The common carp was introduced in the United States in 1877, and is found today in 48 states. Though this species is prized in Europe and Asia, it has been considered by some to be a pest because it muddies water while foraging, intereferes with sportfish such as largemouth bass and the flesh contains numerous small bones. Some states have developed programs to regulate carp populations in reservoirs. Carp usually spawn in beds of weeds along shorelines, with the adhesive eggs sticking to vegetation, so one effective control method is by lowering the water level and stranding eggs after spawning.

    Common carps are hardy, fast-growing and tolerant under adverse conditions with a prolific reproducers in captivity. The carp is a freshwater fish, but can tolerate up to 20 ppt salinity, and alkaline (acid water), not bothered by turbid water and grows on a variety of feeds including agricultural byproducts. Its biology and reproduction are well known making it easily farmed in a variety of culture systems. One expirament conducted by Szumiec (Poland, 1979) reported on common carp farming, with goal of producing 2.2 lb or larger. Stocking rates varied from 121-4047 per acre. Feeds included pellets and dough containing 25% protein derived mostly from plant origin, wheat used as a comparable carbohydrate feed and super pellets which contained 40% protein (primarily animal origin). The study lasted from April until the end of September and repeated for four years. Some fish reached as much as 3 lbs, and it was concluded ponds can produce 1786-2679 lbs per acre of carp with carbohydrate feeds, and 2679-5358 per acre with protein-rich pellets.
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    NOAA 2008 Budget Request


    Feb. 5, 2007 — Retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, today announced highlights of President Bush's proposed 2008 budget for the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lautenbacher said NOAA's request totals $3.8 billion or an increase of 3.4 percent over the administration's 2007 request.

    "The President's budget makes a substantial investment in our oceans that will pay dividends for years to come," said Lautenbacher. "We will be able to make great progress in the goals laid out in the President's Ocean Action Plan of ensuring sustainable use of ocean resources, protecting and restoring marine and coastal areas and enhancing ocean science and research."

    Sustainable use of ocean resources + $25 million:
    - Establish the regulatory framework for environmentally sustainable commercial aquaculture opportunities.
    - Improvements for better management of aquaculture harvests.
    - Support of the new and expanded requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Management Reauthorization Act of 2006.
    - Additional funding for observer programs and market-based approaches to fisheries management.

    News Audio (mp3)
    NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher media teleconference briefing in Silver Spring, Md., on NOAA 2008 budget request.

    Support for the President's U.S. Ocean Action Plan

    - Protection and restoration of marine and coastal areas + $38 million
    - Enforcement and management of the newly designated Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.
    - Funding to restore nearly 1,000 stream miles for endangered Atlantic salmon and other species.
    - Klamath River salmon recovery.
    - Competitive grant programs focused on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance coastal resource priorities.

    Climate Monitoring and Research

    - Support for the National Integrated Drought Information System +$4.4 million.
    - Support for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System +$0.9 million.
    - Research to understand the link between ocean currents and rapid climate change +$5 million.
    - Enhance computational support for assessing abrupt climate change +$1.0 million.

    Read the Entire Story at NOAA News Online
    Read More »

    Aquaculture in South Africa - Farming Endangered Abalone

    'Abalone farming has the highest economic value as compared to all other farmed products'

    Known in South Africa as "perlemoen", abalone is so endangered the government has drastically reduced the total allowable catch in the wild and attempted to encourage saltwater farming of the curlicue-shaped shellfish.
    Resembling a giant limpet and a distant relative of garden snails, it thrives only in oceans or special land-based farms that use seawater to cultivate the creatures.

    'The amount of illegal abalone confiscated in South Africa has skyrocketed'
    Abalone's growing popularity in Asia, where it is a status symbol and reputed aphrodisiac, has spurred sophisticated smuggling rings, some linked to China's notorious Triad gangs, according to South Africa's Institute of Security Studies.

    The amount of illegal abalone confiscated in South Africa has skyrocketed to more than a million shellfish from a mere 21 000 in 1994. It is now common for police to pull over trucks, sometimes refrigerated, carrying illegal abalone on the roads of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, where most of the delicacy is harvested. "We've had good successes, especially towards the end of 2006, where we seized huge quantities of abalone - this is just the tip of the iceberg," said Captain Billy Jones, a spokesperson for the Western Cape provincial police. But legitimate businesses also see a future in abalone farming in South Africa. 'Abalone farming has the highest economic value as compared to all other farmed products'
    Production accounts for 60 percent of the country's aqua-culture revenues. In 2006 it was worth more than R141-million and employed about 800 people.

    "Abalone farming has the highest economic value as compared to all other farmed products and is the highest employer within the marine aquaculture sector," said Blessing Manale, spokesperson for South Africa's department of environmental affairs. He said the department hoped job losses in shrinking abalone fishery could be offset in the burgeoning farm-raised sector, which in 2006 produced more than 900 tons of abalone and is projected to hit the 1 000 ton mark in 2007.

    Read the entire article SA caters to Asia's craving for 'perlemoen', News for South Africa (February 06 2007 at 11:44AM)
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    Minnows and other Bait Fish

    Notes from Fundamentals of Aquaculture, James W. Avault, Jr., Ph.D., pgs. 81-83

    Minnows and Other Baitfish
    Commerical production of bait minnows was worth more than $100 million in 1983 (Dupree and Huner 1984). Arkansas accounts for about half of the U.S. supply and in 1982 had fifty six acres in minnow production (National Aquaculture Development Plan, 1983). In 1980, Minnesota had 731 farms totalling sixteen thousand acreas.
    Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri had more than 1000 acres devoted to baitfish culture. Minnow production has averaged about 600 lbs per acre and net profit about $200 acre. (National Aquaculture Development Plan, 1983). Of about 100 species of sportfishing bait commonly used in the U.S., only four are used in quantity:
    1. golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
    2. fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
    3. white sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
    4. goldfish (Carassius autatus)

    Golden shiner
    Golden Shiner
    Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
    Based on image at Minnow Family, Cyprinidae

    This fish gets its name from appearance of gold flashing, is principally cultured in the mid-South. One strain with orange or red fins has a nervous temperament and jumps from bait containers. An ovarian protozoan parasite (Plistophora ovariae) is a problem, but selecting young broodstock (about 1 year old) helps avoid the parasite. This species reaches sexual maturity at one year, when it is about 2.5 inches in length. Each female can spawn up to 10,000 eggs when temperatures reach 70°F. Spawning mats are used to collect their adhesive eggs and then placed into nursery ponds to hatch.
    In growout ponds, stocking rates vary from between 50,000-200,000 per acre. With feeding, production ranges from 600 to 800 lbs/acre. At harvest fish are graded to size. 6.4 cm or less is considered small and used for crappie (Pomoxis spp.) bait. Larger sizes which range up to 10 inches, are used for baiting largemouth bass and catfish on trotlines.

    Fathead Minnows
    Fathead Minnow
    Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas)
    Based on image at Minnow Family, Cyprinidae

    Cylindrical and seldom grows larger than three inches. Principally raised in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Arkansas. Reaches sexual maturity at one year and spawning begins when water temperature reaches 65°F. Females lay between 200 to 500 eggs each spawn. One female reportedly produced 4000 eggs from 12 spawns during eleven weeks. Eggs are attached to substrate debris. Fry are stocked at 50,000 - 300,000 per acre in growout ponds. Some catfish farmers stock broodponds with adult fathead minnows at 2000/acre which provides winter forage.

    White Sucker
    White Sucker
    White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
    Based on image by Joseph Tomelleri Minnow Family, Cyprinidae

    This species is native to the east of the Rocky Mountains from southern Canada, south to Colorado, Missouri and Georgia. Principally it is produced for bait in the upper Midwest, for crappie, muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and northern pike (Esox lucius).

    Goldfish (Carassius autatus)
    Based on image at Minnow Family, Cyprinidae

    Goldfish, well known as an aquarium fish with its color variations, is also cultivated as a bait fish. It begins spawning at 61°F, and a female may lay anywhere between 2000-4000 eggs over a period of several spawns. Goldfish are cultured in many ways similar to the golden shiner, but not as widely accepted for bait because it is sluggish. However, it is hardy and makes a good trotline bait. Goldfish are also grown to feed tropical carnivorous fish.

    Other Baitfish
    The bull minnow (Fundulus grandis) is used along the Gulf of Mexico for saltwater sportfishing. Suppliers of live bait rely almost completely on wild fish. Other bait fish are the top minnows (Poecilia vittata and P. mexicana) as bait for skip jack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). Tilapia have also been used as baitfish with both fresh and salt sportfish.

    Minnow farming has good potential, but markets must be carefully studied and the existing competition with artificial bait. Farmers should determine market demand and seek to fill a niche, rather than produce a product then seeking a market. The most viable market with bait minnows is use for saltwater sportfishing. The downside is that minnow culture is capital intensive and more labor is required than with other types of aquaculture due to grading and extra effort required in shipping.
    Read More »

    Aquaculture in Public Schools

    Farm living requires far greater cultivation
    By Erin Elaine Mosely
    Montgomery Advertiser

    WETUMPKA -- Agriculture classes are part of the fabric of America, a nation built on farming and producing raw goods. But over the years, agriculture classes in high schools have given way to new studies collectively known as agriscience.

    "It's not teaching cows, plows and saddles," said Jacob Davis, executive secretary for the Alabama Future Farmers Association. "It's teaching the concept of forestry management or aquaculture and how to manage a fish pond or fishery."

    Growing up in a small town doesn't necessarily mean kids know about agriculture.

    "A lot of kids don't grow up around animals, so (learning about agriscience) opens their eyes to something different," said Michael Hutto, an agriscience teacher at Wetumpka High School.

    Billingsley High School will open a 1,500-square-foot aquatic center this summer. It will be one of only two schools in the tri-county area and one of just 40 in the state with facilities to raise fish.

    Teacher Clayton Spencer said the new aquatic center, which will house tanks for raising tilapia, isn't just for agriscience students.

    "Every part of the curriculum can use it -- math, science, social studies and English," he said.

    "You can teach math because it's hands-on. You can take fish out and weigh them on Monday and take them out and weigh them again a week later. You see the percentage of weight increase. That's not just numbers in a book."

    Joe Brown, a teacher at Wetumpka High School, said the curriculum and demographics have varied since he started teaching 30 years ago.

    "We have changed an awful lot," Brown said. "Horticulture still has a lot of interest here, but our program has diversified. We have building construction, animal science, floral design, aquaculture and fish and wildlife."

    Read the article in its entirety
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    Aquaculture Operations

    Aquaculture oversight pushed
    By Sean Hao, Advertiser Staff Writer

    The United States needs to better regulate aquaculture operations, which are expected to grow fivefold into more than a $5 billion industry by 2025, according to a report released yesterday.

    At present, the aquaculture industry, which includes 70 Hawai'i operations, provides about half of all seafood consumed in the United States. However, the nation's growing reliance on ocean farming operations will require new standards and practices to ensure protection of marine ecosystems, according to the Marine Aquaculture Task Force, a group of researchers, educators and aquaculture operators.

    "In just a few years, most of the seafood we consume will come from aquaculture," said task force member Daniel Benetti, an associate professor and the director of aquaculture at the University of Miami. "The question is not whether we should endorse it. The question is how and where we should do it."

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    NOAA Aquaculture Program

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a draft 10-Year Plan for the NOAA Aquaculture Program. Through adoption of this plan, NOAA seeks to establish an improved system for regulating and monitoring U.S. marine aquaculture, develop new seafood farming technology, improve public education about aquaculture, and influence development and adoption of global sustainable aquaculture practices and standards. The plan is available for public comment until November 30.

    NOAA developed the plan at the request of the Department of Commerce’s marine fisheries advisory committee, made up of a diverse cross-section of public representatives. The plan identifies the program’s goals and strategies, budget and staffing requirements, and potential outcomes, benefits and challenges through 2017. The public is asked to provide overall comments on the adequacy and appropriateness of the plan as well as offering specific recommendations for improvement.

    “A strong marine aquaculture industry will benefit America’s coastal communities with new jobs and revenues, and secure the availability of our nation’s future seafood supply,” said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. “This plan provides a promising roadmap for how we will achieve our ambitious goal of increasing sustainable U.S. production of farmed seafood and meet the stock enhancement needs of the nation’s commercial and recreational fisheries over the next 10 years, while providing environmental and other safeguards to protect wild stocks and marine ecosystems.”

    The United States imports almost 70 percent of its seafood, 40 percent of which is farmed. Hogarth said the United States wants more control over the safety, security, and environmental standards under which seafood is raised.The U.S. aquaculture industry, made up primarily of freshwater species such as catfish and tilapia, produces a fraction of global fish production. With a robust and sustainable seafood farming industry, the nation could reduce its $8 billion seafood trade deficit by relying less on imports and increasing seafood exports. Aquaculture also has the potential to substantially increase employment and business opportunities in U.S. coastal communities.

    President Bush’s Ocean Action Plan called for advancing offshore aquaculture while ensuring they operate in an environmentally sustainable manner. The NOAA Aquaculture Program is focused on supporting farming of all types of marine species, for commercial food production, non-food uses, and hatcheries that will stock fish farms and enhance wild fish populations. In June 2005, the Department of Commerce forwarded legislation to Congress that would grant the Secretary of Commerce new authority to issue permits for aquaculture in federal waters. As Congress considers passage of the bill, implementation of this plan will ensure that NOAA’s Aquaculture Program is well-positioned to take on the additional responsibility.

    The draft plan is available online for the public to review online

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    Evolution of The Blue Revolution

    Aquaculture: The Evolution of The Blue Revolution
    Barry Costa-Pierce, director, RI Sea Grant College Program

    Barry Costa-Pierce, director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program and Professor of Fisheries & Aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island, discusses the latest thinking in aquaculture. His specialties are in ecological design, engineering, systems and trophic ecology of aquatic food production systems in marine locations both nearshore & exposed offshore and freshwater environments. Dr. Costa-Pierce received his BA in Zoology from Drew University, his MS in zoology from the University of Vermont, and his PhD in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii.

    Media available in Audio Modem Video or Broadband

    Source: New England Aquarium, WGBH - Boston
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    Aquaculture and the Environment in Vietnam

    Guidelines for the environmental management of aquaculture investments in Vietnam have been recently made available by Vietnam’s Ministry of Fisheries and the World Bank. The guidelines provide an analysis of the impacts on the environment and risks associated with aquaculture development in Vietnam and guidance on better environmental management and monitoring for its future development. (Access to Guidelines).

    In other recent aquaculture news, Vietnam’s National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqaved) apologised to the Japanese Food and Drug Administration Bureau for the chloramphenicol found in Vietnamese shrimp recently shipped to Japan. Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic that is effective against a wide variety of microorganisms. It is a banned substance in most shrimp importing countries as it is believed that it can cause aplastic anemia in humans and other adverse side effects, but it is still used in some areas to treat disease in farmed shrimp because it is exceedingly cheap. In this connection Nafiqaved announced that they would start conducting antibiotic tests on all shrimp exports on 20th December this year.

    Source: South China Sea and Thanhnien News
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    Banks Urged To Invest In Aquaculture

    From Ghana General News Charles Apenyedu, Asutsuare, on Friday, February 02, 2007

    THE Minister of Fisheries, Mrs Gladys Asmah, has urged financial institutions to invest in aquaculture.

    She said, aquaculture is a viable economic enterprise in Ghana and the ministry will not relent in its efforts to develop and nurture it.

    The minister made the call here on Wednesday when she toured the Tropo Farms, an intensive commercial fish farm with some managing directors from the banking sector.

    The tour was to offer decision makers from the three banking and financial institutions the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the progress in aquaculture development in the country.

    Mrs Asmah said the ministry had so far trained 329 people throughout the country in mechanised fish farming and added that the Ministry would assist them with capital and equipment to start their own fish farming ventures.

    Mr Mark Amakye, managing director of Tropo Farms, said the fish farming industry in Ghana has very great potential.

    Noting that the weather and climatic conditions as well as availability of water are perfect, he said such conditions are conducive for large-scale production of tilapia.

    Mr Adam Sulley, Head of Corporate and Customer Relations at the Agriculture Development Bank, expressed satisfaction at the tilapia production on the farm.

    Source: Charles Apenyedu, Asutsuare
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    Marine Aquaculture Task Force Suggests Regulating Aquaculture

    Woods Hole, MA -- Congress should enact legislation to ensure that strong environmental standards are in place to regulate the siting and conduct of offshore marine aquaculture, according to an independent panel of leaders from scientific, policymaking, business, and conservation institutions. At the same time, the Marine Aquaculture Task Force suggests that the federal government should provide funding and incentives for research, development, and deployment of technologies, and techniques for sustainable marine aquaculture.
    Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants, and it accounts for nearly one half of all seafood consumed in the world today. The industry is growing rapidly as wild fish stocks decline.

    The Task Force—-organized by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Lenfest Foundation—-was charged with examining the risks and benefits of marine aquaculture and developing a set of national policy recommendations to guide future development of our oceans.

    Members of the panel have been meeting since the summer of 2005, and they released their findings in a media conference call. View full report -- Sustainable Marine Aquaculture: Fulfilling The Promise; Managing The Risks.

    “There is a growing need for seafood to feed a hungry world, but the world’s fisheries can no longer meet the demand,” said task force chairman Rear Adm. (ret.) Richard F. Pittenger, former WHOI vice president for Marine Facilities and Operations and a former Oceanographer of the Navy. “Half of our seafood comes from aquaculture, and that share is only going to grow. The federal government has proposed a fivefold increase in U.S. aquaculture production, and while we certainly agree with an increase, we believe it must be done in an environmentally responsible way.”

    Read the rest of this story at Pew Charitable Trusts News Release
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    Demand for Seafood Likely to Pressure Aquaculture into New Developments

    Growing Demand for Seafood Likely to Pressure Aquaculture into New Developments

    NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Palo Alto, CA, United States, 01/29/2007 - Frost & Sullivan ( finds that Aquaculture - Global Developments provides a thorough examination of fish farming and aquaculture.

    The last three decades have seen the aquaculture industry develop into one of the fastest growing food producing sectors in the world. The industry today is extremely diverse and contains a wide variety of systems ranging from small ponds to large-scale commercial systems. The exponential rate at which the world population is expanding is contributing toward making culture fisheries more important than ever as a reliable source of food and resources.

    Frost & Sullivan ( finds that Aquaculture - Global Developments provides a thorough examination of fish farming and aquaculture.

    "The growth of the aquaculture industry is vital for meeting the world's growing appetite for fish and other seafood," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Kasturi Nadkarny. "If the aquaculture industry manages to overcome the environmental concerns and the social and economical challenges plaguing it, it could be instrumental in narrowing the widening gap between the demand and supply of seafood."

    A recent report from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that by 2030, maintaining the present-day consumption levels will require an additional 40 million tons of fish. The wild fish populations will be incapable of meeting this demand, putting an onus on the aquaculture industry to boost its production to compensate for this gap in supply and demand.

    On the flip side, intensive shrimp farming results in several tons of organic waste within a single shrimp-farming crop. Most of these wastes are in the form of stable organic compounds that are difficult to be broken down into simpler forms and cannot be put to use by the phytoplankton through photosynthesis. The oxidation of these compounds results in the depletion of the dissolved oxygen content in the shrimp ponds. Further, the generation of toxic metabolites such as nitrite, ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulphide makes the soil acidic, damages the gills and tails of the fish, affects their metabolism, causes blue shrimp syndrome owing to nutritional deficiency and disrupts the molting process.

    "This is mainly responsible for the high mortality rates in aquaculture shrimp farming and to add to this issue, shrimp farms are always located in close proximity of each other, making it easy for diseases to spread from one farm to another and making it difficult to be controlled," explains Nadkarny. "In addition, although most nations have the scope to considerably enhance their aquaculture production for meeting the global demand for seafood, fish farmers lack sufficient technical information that is required to improve practices aimed at higher quality and yield."

    Aquaculture - Global Developments is part of the Technical Insights Food and Beverages Subscription, and it gives an overview of emerging trends in the aquaculture landscape that involves key drivers, challenges, restraints, and analysis of adoption trends.

    Aquaculture - Global Developments
    It is OK to republish and/or LINK any newswire for any legitimate media purpose as long as you name Newswire Today and LINK as the source.
    Keywords: Aquaculture, fishing, fish farming, sea food, environmental concerns, Food and Drug Administration, FDA, shrimp farming, organic waste, organic aquaculture, fish stocks, phytoplankton, photosynthesis, toxic metabolites, nitrite, ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulphide
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    Tilapia Culture

    *Great news for Culturists. Our instructor stated the following notes I've paraphrased from, were written around five years ago. Since that time in North Carolina alone, many farmers have experienced success with Tilapia culture utilizing indoor recirculating systems.

    Scientific classification
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Actinopterygii
    Order: Perciformes
    Family: Cichlidae
    Oreochromis A. Günther,1889
    Sarotherodon W. P. E. S. Rüppell, 1852
    Tilapia Smith, 1840 (Tilapia, Wikipedia)

    The family Cichlidae is characterized by long dorsal fins, with some varieties being brightly colored. This group includes many popular aquarium fish. Tilapia is native to Africa and Asia, but has been distributed heavily, worldwide. The tilapias are second only to carps in popularity as a finfish culture species worldwide. This group has only very limited production in the US (like carps), though interest in tilapia culture in the US is growing.

    Tilapia, photographed at Brunswick Community College Aquaculture facility (North Carolina


    Tilapias are a tropical species, which die when exposed to water temps below 55ºF. This, along with regulatory hurdles, has contributed to the lack of commercial culture in the USA.

    Despite the lack of domestic production, tilapia is now the second most widely marketed cultured warmwater fish in the USA (behind channel catfish). About 85% of the filets sold in this country originate from foreign aquaculture operations.
    American Tilapia Association and Marketing of Tilapia in the USA

    Most domestic tilapia are produced in indoor recirculating systems, then sold to live markets. Prices of live tilapia have plummeted to as little as $0.90/lb, due to overproduction for this limited market. This price falls below the break-even price for most US producers. There has been some recovery, but prices of $1.50/lb and higher are probably gone for good.

    Some producers have switched to alternative species, while others have tried to enlarge their facilities (economies of scale) utilizing improved technology to lower production cost. Marketing plans for may include processing tilapia into filets to compete with overseas producers, and emphasizing on freshness and quality.

    Culture Species
    There are three genera under the common name of tilapia.

    Tilapia sp.
    Tilapia (genus) includes three species that build nests on the substrate. Some of these species are cultured, but this genus does not include the major culture species.

    Two others are Sarotherodon sp. and Oreochromis sp.
    These are the mouthbrooders, the genera that brood eggs and newly hatched larvae within the mouth after eggs are laid.

    Large-scale commercial culture of tilapia is limited almost exclusively to the culture of three species:
    1. Oreochromis niloticus
    2. Oreochromis aureus
    3. Oreochromis mossambica

    Of the three tilapia species with recognized aquaculture potential, the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, is by far the most commonly used species in fish farming.
    From Tilapia Farming
    The genus Oreochromis includes the three major culture species:

    Nile tilapia (Oreochromis nilotica)
    Nile Tilapia
    Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus

    The Nile tilapia is a native of the Nile River, North African waters and Middle East. Sometimes called St. Peter's Fish, because it is also a native of the Sea of Galilee, and thought by some to be the fish Jesus multiplied to feed the masses at the Sermon on the Mount.

    The Nile tilapia is likely the most widely cultured tilapia species. This species (or a hybrid with the blue tilapia) is most often cultured in recirculating aquaculture systems in the US.

    Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aurea)
    Blue Tilapia
    Blue Tilapia, Oreochromis aurea
    Based on an image at Auburn University

    Blue tilapia is the second most cultured, hybridized with Oreochromis nilotica. The blue tilapia breeds at a smaller size and earlier age than Nile tilapia (2-3 months vs. 5-6 months) and is more tolerant of high salinity and low temperature than many other species.

    Various hybrids of blue tilapia and other tilapia species tend to be intermediate in tolerance of low temperature and high salinity.

    Blue tilapia exhibits great skill at seine avoidance. It seeks out low spots and lies on its side during seining operations.

    Black tilapia or Java tilapia. (Oreochromis mossambica)
    Black Tilapia
    Black Tilapia, Oreochromis mossambica
    Based on an image from Zoozipcode

    Like blue tilapia... black tilapia spawns at an early age (2-3 months). It is also relatively tolerant of high salinity.

    A hybrid between the mossambica female and nilotica male is known to be fast-growing.

    Other Notable Hybrids
    spirulus x aurea: hardy cross that will live and grow in full-strength seawater.
    mossambica x hornorum: cross which produce offspring with red flesh, and may contribute to improved marketing in some areas of the US, such as Florida.

    Developing Countries and Tilapia
    Tilapia are cultured in ponds in tropical and sub-tropical developing countries throughout the world. Various species and hybrids of tilapia have been widely introduced throughout South America, Africa and Asia by US Peace Corps, US Agency for International Development (USAID), British VSO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and a large number of non-government organizations.
    Tilapia has become an important source of economical, but high-quality protein in places where it is needed most.

    Tilapia are also produced in conjunction with hog and/or duck production in developing countries. Hog or duck pens are constructed alongside or even on stilts directly over the ponds. Waste may move directly into the ponds, providing organic fertilization spurring the production of plankton and benthic invertebrates which are hence eaten by the fish. Some tilapia will consume animal wastes directly.
    See Use of organic residues in aquaculture. However, use of animal waste fertilizer is not a popular method in U.S. fish culture. The use of animal waste as a source of fertilizer or food for fish creates marketing problems, and naturally would be a source of public health concern.

    Pond Production in the United States
    Tilapia and its hybrids are used for forage species in ponds for largemouth bass and sometimes used as forage for catfish broodstock. Pond production of tilapia as food for human consumption is largely limited to the southern states, Florida, Texas and Southern California. Tilapia die when water temperatures fall below 55ºF, so with the exception of a few areas of the US, tilapia will not survive through the winter.

    All-male tilapia or sterile hybrids are stocked in ponds to prevent breeding, which would result in overpopulation and stunting. Fingerlings are stocked during the spring in high density, which may range between 5,000-10,000 per acre. Very high production is possible in ponds (up to 10,000 lbs/acre) since tilapia are very tolerant of poor water quality associated with high daily feeding rates.

    Disadvantages in Marketing Tilapia
    Nearly all of the fish are harvested within a short period in late fall before water temperatures reach lethal levels. Processors and other buyers prefer a steady, year-round supply which creates a major problem with marketing. Tilapia have a tendency to pick up severe off-flavors associated with high feeding levels in ponds which also makes them difficult to market.

    Tilapia Cage Culture
    Tilapia have been successfully cultured in cages. There is no need for an all male population or sterile hybrids, since tilapia can not reproduce in large-mesh (1/2") cages. Eggs and milt fall through the bottom of the cage and are not picked up by mouth-brooders. In the US, these problems are increasingly being addressed by using tank culture methods in indoor, temperature-controlled water recirculation systems.

    Recirculating Aquaculture Systems
    "Tank Culture of Tilapia"
    There have been substantial attempts to produce tilapia in indoor recirculating aquaculture systems, both in experimental settings and on a commercial scale by private industry. While tilapia production in these systems is technically feasible, most of the attempts at commercial production have been unprofitable and have failed. However, there are some success stories using this technology, and new ventures have arose in lieu of business failures. Many newer enterprises are attempting to avoid the pitfalls discovered during earlier attempts and some show promise, but for the time no established procedures exist for commercial tilapia culture. Eventually, with continued improvements, recirculating aquaculture systems may become a more visible segment in commercial industry.

    Stocking rates in recirculating system tanks are planned as to limit the total number of lbs. of fish per gallon of water, thus the total amount of feed added each day. Most commercial systems limit fish to holding capacity (feeding rate of 2% of body weight/day) that ranges from 0.25 lbs/gallon to 0.8 lbs/gallon for tilapia. Tilapia can be stocked at such high density because they are generally tolerant of poor water quality. Attempts to grow other species at such high density, such as hybrid striped bass have shown little success.

    Tilapia are able to withstand low DO concentrations coupled with high ammonia levels for varying periods of time (which also depends on temperature, pH, etc.) Generally, tilapia are more tolerant of such conditions than most cultured species. Since such conditions are encountered for short periods of time in recirculating systems, tilapia are an ideal species for this type of production.

    Interest has developed in commercial recirculating systems for tilapia due to year-round temperature control, lack of off-flavor problems, and demand for live tilapia in large cities in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. For continued growth of tilapia production in recirculating systems, producers must find ways to compete effectively in fresh dressed and frozen tilapia. This places them in direct competition with commercial producers overseas, where production costs with ponds are far lower than production costs of U.S. recirculating systems. Domestic tilapia producers face competition from cheap foreign imports, which are similar to the problems faced by many other domestic manufacturers.
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