Nutrition and Feeding. Researchers
seek to develop low-cost feeds and more efficient feeding strategies for catfish, to
optimize nutrient utilization, to gain new information on effects of nutrition and feeding
on fish health and effects of feed-borne mycotoxins on catfish growth and health, and to
develop nutrient enhanced, value-added catfish products through nutrition.
Production Practices and Water
Quality. The overall goal of production and water quality research is
to improve catfish production by developing management practices that provide greater
control over the pond environment. At present, the program focuses on management of
environmental off-flavors, pond fertility, waste discharge, dissolved oxygen, and the
development of alternative pond culture systems.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service/Catfish Genetics Research Unit. The overall goal of the USDA-ARS catfish genetics program
is to enhance production efficiency by developing improved strains of catfish. Scientists
are determining inheritance of desirable characteristics, developing strategies for
genetically improving catfish for commercial production, and developing and releasing
improved catfish germplasm for use as seed stock for commercial production.
Fish Health. The goal is to develop management strategies to
optimize fish health and minimize the impact of disease-related losses. Specific areas of
research have been identified through interactions with industry advisory groups,
extension service representatives, and research personnel in other disciplines, agencies,
and institutions. Areas of focus include developing early disease detection methodologies,
establishing disease monitoring programs, identifying risk factors that influence the
onset and severity of disease outbreaks, and developing best management practices to
prevent and manage disease outbreaks with minimal economic loss to producers.
Disease Diagnostics. Staff
seeks to provide a comprehensive disease diagnostic service, investigate the causes of new
and emerging diseases, and identify management strategies that decrease the impact of
disease related losses on farms.
Harvest and Gear Technology. Researchers
seek to increase harvest and grading efficiencies through the improvement of conventional
gear or the development of new gear. New
technologies, materials, and ideas from researchers across the southeastern USA will all
be utilized in a cooperative effort to make improvement in this area.