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Comparative Cost Analysis of Hybrid Striped Bass Fingerling Production in Ponds and Tanks

Eklund, Patty, Engle, Carole, Ludwig, Gerald
North American Journal of Aquaculture 2012 v.74 no.1 pp. 39
Artemia, Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis, Rotifera, aquaculture tanks, bass, diet, drying, economies of scale, farms, fingerlings, fish culture, fish ponds, fish production, growers, hybrids, production costs, rearing, survival rate
Year-round production of hybrid striped bass (female white bass Morone chrysops × male striped bass M. saxatilis) fingerlings would allow food fish growers to sell their product throughout the year, which would improve the consistency of market supply and cash flow for the farm. However, pond production of fingerlings is seasonal and precludes year-round supply. Tank culture methods have been developed to produce hybrid striped bass fingerlings indoors throughout the year, but the associated costs have not been estimated or compared with pond production costs. Economic engineering techniques were used to estimate production costs for phase I hybrid striped bass fingerlings in ponds (0.4, 1.2, or 2.4 ha) and tanks (945, 2,457, or 5,670 L) for production scales of 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, or 2,000,000 fingerlings per year. The results demonstrated that there are economies of scale in terms of the volume of production and the size of the production unit. Overall, pond production per 1,000 fingerlings was substantially less expensive than tank production, even accounting for the increased number of annual production cycles in tanks. Production costs were sensitive to survival rates and can be reduced by 7–14% and 5–11% for each 5% improvement in survival in ponds and tanks, respectively. Substituting microcyst brine shrimp for rotifers Artemia spp. in the diet may have the potential to reduce the tank costs of producing hybrid striped bass depending on fingerling survival beyond 14 d posthatch. Additional research is needed to improve overall fingerling survival both during the early fry rearing stage and after training to dry feed. Received July 31, 2010; accepted May 25, 2011