4 Species for Fish Farming in the US

By Andy Whitcomb

Feb 15, 2019

Fish farming or aquaculture is a growing industry. Here are 4 species that are produced.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, The US fish farming industry is well established and diverse. The first fish hatchery in the U.S. was in Madison, Wisconsin in 1887 but there are now several thousand. Although some fish farming in USA raises recreational or ornamental fish, the majority is finfish produced for consumption. Fish can be raised in ponds, recirculation tanks, raceways, cages or net pens but the species of a successful fish farm depends greatly on market demand and water quality, flow, oxygen, and temperature.

1. Catfish

Most popular species in the US fish farming industry. Until they reach about 1 ½ pounds, catfish, usually channel catfish, have an efficient rate of conversion of pellet feed to pound of fish. Catfish are a warm water species, actively feeding and growing in warmer temperatures, and are tolerant of lower oxygen levels than many other species.

2. Tilapia

This non-native species is another warm water species. In fact, if the temperature drops below 50 degrees, no more flakey white fillets. Production facilities are mostly indoor, often greenhouse type structures where the fish consumes tiny leftover particles often from water incorporated from other aquaculture or hydroponic operations.

3. Trout

According to the United States Trout Farmers Association, 53 million pounds of trout, mostly rainbow trout, were grown in the U.S. in 2008, primarily destined for table fare. Trout farming require a lot of maintenance, and high quality, highly oxygenated cold water. Usually raised in outdoor raceways for moving water, the temperature should stay below 70 degrees

4. Yellow perch

Although a smaller fish, yellow perch fillets are highly prized. There are several pros for this cold water species fish farming in USA such as its ability to train well to feed and tolerate crowded conditions.  However, timing of productions shifts and spawning inconsistencies can complicate farming.

With any farm, there is a high concentration of organisms, and thus, a potential for things to go wrong. For example, there is concern that if salmon in ocean net pens escape they may put the wild population at risk for disease. However, fish farming in USA certainly helps supply meet demand. It also reduces pressure on some of our natural resources and can help fish conservation, like the purchase of your fishing license.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.