Aquaculture: Fish Farming By: Audrey Harmon
There are many types of fish. Some live in oceans. They need salt water.
In Oklahoma we have no bodies of salt water but we have plenty of fresh water lakes and rivers. • We have more man-made lakes than any other state. • We have over 1 million surface acres of water. • We have 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
Most fish grow in rivers and lakes, but in some places there are fish farms. Fish farming is called aquaculture. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing segments of US agriculture.
Channel catfish is the primary species of farm-raised fish in the US. The grandparents of most of the channel catfish raised in the US are probably from Oklahoma.
Channel catfish can be grouped in one of four groups while at the farm. • Brood Fish- the fish that produce the offspring. • Fry- the newly hatched fish. • Fingerlings- young catfish. • Marketable Fish- fish that are about 18 months old and weigh between 1 and 1 ½ pounds.
When catfish are 18 days old they are strong enough to be transferred to outdoor ponds. These ponds vary in size from 5-20 acres and are 4-5 feet deep.
The young fish are fed twice a day. Their food is made from soybeans, corn, wheat, and fish meal.
When the catfish are ready to harvest, they are caught in nets and placed in aerated tank trucks for live shipment to processing plants.
They do not have scales. Their color depends on the color of water they live in. Catfish move mostly at night. During the day, catfish hide. They need oxygen to live. They use gills to breathe oxygen. Fish that are stressed or pursued by a predator need more oxygen than fish at rest. Fish provide us with protein. Interesting facts about channel catfish: