Aquaculture

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Entry Category: Aquaculture

Aquaculture

Aquaculture—the farming of aquatic plants and animals—includes private sector, commercial fish farms, state and federal hatcheries that produce fish to stock public waters, and farm pond owners who stock ponds for recreational fishing. Overall sales place aquaculture in the top ten agricultural industries in the state. Arkansas is the birthplace of warmwater aquaculture in the United States. The first commercial fish farms were built in Arkansas in the 1940s to raise goldfish. The industry in Arkansas has diversified into production of more than twenty species of fish and crustaceans. These species supply food-fish markets, recreational fishing markets and waters, retail pet markets, gardening supply markets, and markets for aquatic weed and snail control. Arkansas ranks second in aquaculture-producing states. It …

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission State Fish Hatcheries

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission State Fish Hatcheries were built between 1928 and 1940 for spawning and culturing game fish to manage fish populations in natural lakes, rivers, and streams and for stocking lakes built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A surge of lake construction began in 1944 with the Corps’ Norfork Lake project in Baxter County, followed by the Game and Fish Commission’s 6,700-acre Lake Conway in Faulkner County. More than thirty Game and Fish Commission lakes were constructed in the next forty years. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission now operates four warm-water fish hatcheries, and one cold-water hatchery, which produce millions of fish each year for stocking …

Baitfish Industry

Arkansas leads the nation in the farming of bait and feeder fish, providing sixty-one percent of the value of all cultured baitfish in the country. Baitfish are small minnows used as fishing bait to catch predatory game fish such as crappie, catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass. Feeder fish are small fish sold as live food for fish and animals in aquariums and zoos. Six billion bait minnows—predominantly golden shiners, fathead minnows, and goldfish—are raised in Arkansas each year and shipped throughout the country. In 1998, the Census of Aquaculture recorded sixty-two baitfish farms in Arkansas. The annual farm-gate value of Arkansas baitfish production was $23 million; with an economic impact of six to seven times this amount, baitfish production contributes …

Catfish Industry

aka: Ictalurus punctatus
The catfish industry is the largest component of aquaculture in the United States and a significant industry in Arkansas. Arkansas is the birthplace of the commercial catfish industry, with at least two farms selling catfish in the late 1950s. Arkansas farmers began to replace buffalofish (Ictiobus spp.) with catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) in the 1960s. By 1966, Arkansas had 4,500 acres in catfish production and three processing plants. However, increases in the price of fishmeal (an ingredient used in making fish feeds), an economic recession, and the lack of year-round production technology resulted in an industry downturn in the mid-1970s. Multiple-batch production technologies developed in the 1980s allowed for year-round supplies to processing plants. Catfish are raised in ten- to twenty-acre earthen ponds. …

Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) actively supports aquaculture through research conducted at the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center (HKDSNARC) in Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The mission of the HKDSNARC is to conduct cutting-edge research that addresses the highest priorities of the U.S. aquaculture industry, as well as serving as a global leader in aquaculture research. The research conducted addresses vital issues that are national in scope and result in new knowledge that informs scientists, farmers, feed mills, pharmaceutical companies, processors, teachers, governmental agencies, and consumers. The HKDSNARC collaborates with universities, international research institutions, government agencies, and private industry. Since the 1970s, aquaculture has been the fastest-growing sector of global food production. Global aquaculture production in …

Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery

Since 1928, the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery near Lonoke (Lonoke County) has produced fish for stocking Arkansas lakes and streams. It is the oldest and largest of the four warm-water hatcheries run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and is the largest and one of the oldest state-owned warm-water pond hatcheries in the United States. Early in 1928, AGFC chairman Lee Miles instructed AGFC secretary Guy Amsler to look for available land near Lonoke for the construction of a fish hatchery. The site purchased for the hatchery was a half mile south of Lonoke and consisted of two adjacent rice farms totaling 266 acres and located along present-day U.S. Highway 70. The commission earmarked $17,544 for purchasing …

National Fish Hatcheries

Thirty-five states are home to a total of seventy national fish hatcheries (NFHs). Arkansas is home to three: Mammoth Spring, Norfork, and Greers Ferry. Arkansas’s role in the federal fish hatchery system—designed to conserve, protect, and enhance the fish population nationwide for the benefit of all Americans—is key. Arkansas is the systems leader in trout production, has the single Gulf Coast striped bass facility in the world, and engages universities in collaborative research efforts. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Department of the Interior administers the world’s largest fish hatchery system, comprising not only hatcheries, but also Fish Health Centers and Fish Technology Centers. Federal fish hatcheries trace their formation to a joint resolution of the …

Paddlefish

aka: Spoonbill Catfish
Paddlefish belong to the family Polyodontidae and order Acipensiformes. There are six known species—four are extinct (three from western North America, one from China) and known only from fossil remains, while two extant species include the paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), which is native to the Mississippi River basin in the United States, and the gigantic critically endangered Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) endemic to the Yangtze River Basin in China, where they lived primarily in the broad-surfaced main stem rivers and shoal zones along the East China Sea. Paddlefish are basal Chondrostean ray-finned fish; they are archaic and have been referred to as “primitive fish” because they have evolved with few unique morphological changes since the earliest fossil records of the late …