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Fish culture; Farm ponds; Economics


This paper presents the results of a three year research and extension project in fish farming in central Minnesota. Fifty-seven farm ponds were stocked with one or more of the following species: channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, yellow bullheads, bluegill sunfish, and black crappie. Several stocking densities with and without supplemental feeding were tested. The results indicate that when intensively managed, ponds over 0.05 hectare in size and 1 meter in depth are suitable for the production of food fish. Production of harvestable-size fish is possible during a single season when large fingerlings are stocked in early spring. Trout and catfish demonstrated the highest growth rates. Average yields for different production methods ranged from 18 to 356 kg/ha in warm-water ponds and 114 to 880 kg/ha in cold-water ponds. Fish yields were higher in ponds with supplemental feeding than without feeding. Several harvesting methods were tested and analyzed for efficiency. The findings indicate the importance of proper site selection and pond design for the success of an aquaculture operation. Economic analysis revealed the profitability of trout culture, and relatively high production costs for warm water species. Ways to reduce these costs are suggested.

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