Other Aquaculture Species
Aquaculture is defined as the production of farm-raised aquatic plants and animals. The interest in aquaculture has increased partly due to health conscious consumers increasing their consumption of fish and shellfish and the growing interest in eating local foods. Aquaculture industries in the South, such as the catfish industry in Mississippi and Alabama, the baitfish industry in Arkansas, and the crawfish industry in Louisiana became established based on a strong infrastructure and sound markets. Although many aquaculture species can be grown in the southern states, only a few have been successful.
Mississippi farmers have produced many freshwater aquaculture species and many remain in business today by selling to niche markets across the United States. In addition to channel catfish, farmers are either currently raising or have successfully raised hybrid striped bass, crawfish, baitfish, turtles, and tilapia. While most of these species are raised outdoors, entrepreneurs are increasingly looking at indoor facilities for growing high value species. It should be pointed out that Aquaculture Permits are required to grow any species except channel catfish and crawfish. These permits are available from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
Is the technology proven?
Many aspiring aquaculturists become captivated by experimental systems or alternative species and get caught up in the hype of something new. It can be difficult separating experimental from proven technologies. If existing farms have been in operation for only a short period of time, there is a high risk that the technology could be experimental or even uneconomical. Ask the opinion of an Extension Aquaculture Specialist with your state’s Extension Service.
Is there a market?
A common error is to assume that a market already exists for the type of aquaculture product being considered. The best fish and shellfish have no value unless someone is willing to pay you what it takes to earn a profit. Marketing covers everything a business does to find customers and maintain a relationship with them. Where, how, and when you will sell your product are the first questions you should answer.
Do your homework!
Seek out unbiased information from universities and established producers. The internet is a great source for unfiltered information so it is imperative that you question the basis for any claims presented.
SRAC Species Profiles (Information on 19 alternative finfish and shellfish species)
Introduction to Aquaculture (Narrated PowerPoint presentation)
Aquaculture: Realities and Potentials When Getting Started
Introduction to Financial Management of Aquaculture Businesses
Developing Business Proposals for Aquaculture Loans
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University Extension professor has received the U.S.