Floating Raceways are Superior to Open Pond Farming
Catfish farming in the U.S. represents, by far, the largest segment of U.S. aquaculture (46%) and often leads the way in research and technology. Recent research, much of it coming from Auburn University’s Dept. of Fisheries & Allied Aquacultures, strongly supports the advantages of using in-pond raceways over the traditional 6 acre pond culture.
The additional, recent advent of the Superior Floating Raceway™ now offers producers of all species a further breakthrough in efficiency, return on investment (ROI), and environmental stewardship. Researchers are seeking, “…yields of 25,000 to 35,000 pounds of catfish per acre per year, more than three times the state’s (Alabama‘s) average of 8,000 pounds per acre per annum.” (YSI/Auburn report.)
At this time, it appears that raceways of about 10-12 ft. x 70-90 ft. x 4-5 ft. deep may be best.
Enhanced Water Quality
While some of the highlights of this breakthrough in U.S. aquaculture are listed below, the most exciting fact is that these efficiencies are only possible because the raceways greatly enhance pond water quality. By containing and efficiently removing a huge portion of the fish feces and uneaten feed before it can deteriorate water quality, the raceways allow the pond’s natural flora and fauna to maintain the water quality required for sustained production. This is truly the greening of American aquaculture.
Through better control of “bloom and bust” algae growth, super saturation of dissolved oxygen during the day and plummeting levels of dissolved oxygen at night can be mediated, thus reducing the amount of energy necessary for oxygenation. In effect, the system is a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) Within A Pond, or a RASWAP. Placing the feed and supplemental oxygen, when necessary, where the fish are concentrated only makes sense and significantly reduces feed and energy costs.
One example of many benefits provided by this system is the reduction or elimination of 'off flavors', estimated to cost U.S. catfish farmers $50 million annually.
Some Features of System:
- Reduced or eliminated need to regularly drain pond.
- No need to drain pond for Superior Raceway installation.
- Improved energy feed efficiencies.
- Significantly reduced energy consumption.
- Improved water quality.
- The capture and possible “recycling” of 65% of nutrients fed.
- Easy and efficient sorting of fish.
- Accurate and efficient fish observation and health/growth assessment.
- Reduced “off-flavor” issues.
- Effective “off-flavor” purging, if necessary, within raceways.
- Very significantly reduced harvest costs.
- Improved monitoring of water quality.
- Improved feed conversion ratios.
- 100% fish capture from raceways.
- Adaptable to changing water levels, including floods.
- Movable within pond and by truck.
- Easier to maintain than concrete.
- Improved fish health and treatment efficiencies.
- Bird and predator problems reduced or eliminated.
- 15% - 25% the cost of many fixed, concrete raceways.