NWAC103 line catfish

Channel catfish farming began over 30 yearsago and is one of the most successfulaquaculture enterprises in the U.S., surpassingproduction of other commercially cultured fishfor human consumption. Approximately180,000 acres of ponds are in production, withan annual yield of 600 million pounds of fish.Unlike the poultry, beef and swine industries,genetic improvements of catfish had not had animpact on commercial production andprofitability. To this end, the Catfish GeneticsResearch Unit Team developed a geneticallyimproved catfish line, NWAC103, that hasenhanced growth due to higher feedconsumption. This has resulted in the fasterproduction of marketable commercial catfish.The technology transfer process was set inmotion when the team collected and analyzeddata from studies that compared fishperformance in tanks and ponds withNWAC103 catfish. The study providedsupporting documentation that allowedNWAC103 catfish to be released to selectedcatfish producers. To review the data, a jointcommittee comprised of the team membersand representatives from the Mississippi StateUniversity Agricultural and ForestryExperiment Station was created. Thecommittee voted unanimously to release thefish to 35 catfish producers in Mississippi,Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and NorthCarolina in the fall of 2000.The fish developed by the team is set to havepositive economic returns within the catfishproduction industry. It is projected that oncethe NWAC103 fish are available in all 180,000production acres, the industry will see annualproduction revenues ranging from $23 to $46million.
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