Aquaculture Research Station Profile

Charles Lutz, Reigh, Robert C., Green, Christopher, Tiersch, Terrence R., Romaire, Robert P.  |  2/11/2010 11:30:08 PM

Picture of research station

Person holding an alligator

Baiting crawfish traps

A PDF version of the Aquaculture Research Station Profile is available below.

Research Highlights
Production aquaculture in the United States is seriously challenged -- with rising input costs and global competition. Increased efficiency and new products, production methods and technology platforms will be needed in the coming years. In Louisiana, a number of aquaculture species have commercial importance. Crawfish farming alone involves more than 170,000 acres, 1,200 farmers and an estimated economic contribution exceeding $190 million. Many other species found in Louisiana's waters have culture potential.

  • Cryopreservation and germplasm storage methods, induced spawning methods and specialized breeding techniques are being established for a number of aquatic species, including channel catfish, blue catfish, livebearing fishes used in biomedical research and oysters.
  • Constraints on crawfish production and methods for producing early or out-of-season harvests are being evaluated.
  • Nutritional values of diverse feedstuffs are being tested to optimize growth and lower feed costs for a number of aquatic species.
  • Research is under way related to commercial development of marine baitfish culture for use in coastal recreational fisheries.
  • Culture methods for several native aquatic species are being developed and evaluated.
  • Nutritional values of diverse feedstuffs are being tested to optimize growth and lower feed costs of aquatic species used for food, bait and hide production, such as pompano, killifish and alligator.
  • Research is under way to develop Gulf killifish (cocahoe) aquaculture to serve the baitfish needs of coastal recreational fisheries.

Significance of Aquaculture Research
Lower feed costs and improved feed conversion rates allow producers to compete more effectively against foreign imports.

Coordination of spawning and reproduction of catfish could streamline the production of hybrid fish, an important goal of the U.S. catfish industry.

Improvement of baitfish reproductive efficiency can assist the commercialization of marine baitfish production.

Research on crawfish population dynamics could save producers millions of dollars per year in supplemental stocking costs. Managing crawfish production to take advantage of recruitment throughout the production season will allow producers to increase yields significantly without reducing average crawfish size.

The availability of aquatic animal germplasm could lead to genetic improvements of value to many aquaculture industries.

2011 Aquaculture Industry Facts
Louisiana has long been recognized as supporting one of the most diverse aquaculture industries in the United States. Cultured species include crawfish, catfish, alligators, oysters, turtle hatchlings, a variety of freshwater game fish and a number of minor species. In 2011, gross farm sales were estimated at roughly $264 million. Value added to these aquaculture products was estimated to be almost $172 million, resulting in a total estimated value of approximately $436 million for the state’s economy in 2011.

Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary
Web site:

Future Plans
Aquaculture will continue to play an important role in Louisiana agriculture. The ability to integrate aquaculture with traditional agricultural crops continues to make it an important option for many farmers in Louisiana. Immediate research goals include:

  • Evaluate captive spawning, larval rearing, grow-out conditions, nutrition and genetics for Gulf killifish and other candidate species found in Louisiana waters.
  • Evaluate effects of climatic and physicochemical stressors on reproduction, survival, growth and production of crawfish.
  • Determine influences of bait type and water temperature on crawfish movement patterns to reduce harvesting costs.
  • Define key factors related to the interaction of red swamp and white river crawfish in production ponds.
  • Evaluate alternative crawfish species and practices to extend the harvest season.
  • Further refine techniques for the preservation and improvement of genetic resources of cultured fish and shellfish.
  • Continue to determine the cost-effective means to deliver proper nutrition to an increasing variety of aquatic species while optimizing growth, feed conversion and water quality in various production systems.
  • Collaborate with other institutions in the Southeast to improve hatchery methods for hybrid catfish.  Evaluate nutritional requirements and feeding strategies for alligator production and determine potential stress factors in alligator grow-out facilities.
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