USDA Agricultural Research Service --Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in North American Journal of Aquaculture, 66:177–183, 2004.


NWAC103 line channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, Norris line channel catfish, and Norris line female channel catfish × Dycus Farm line male blue catfish I. furcatus F1 hybrids were compared for production, meat yield, and meat quality traits. Juvenile fish from each genetic group were stocked at 12,000 fish/ha into three, 0.04-ha ponds per genetic group. Fish were fed once daily to satiation from June through October, and fed on days when afternoon water temperatures were above 17 °C from November through December. Fish were harvested, weighed, and counted in January, and 150 fish per genetic group (50 fish per pond) were processed and measured for meat and body component yield. Instrumental and sensory panel evaluations of quality were measured on fresh, frozen-thawed, and baked fillets. Stocking weight, harvest weight, and net production (kg/ha) were highest for the NWAC103 line channel catfish, intermediate for the hybrid, and lowest for the Norris line channel catfish. Growth at unit size (a), percent weight gain, survival, and feed conversion were not significantly different among genetic groups. Carcass yield (relative to whole weight) and fillet yield were higher for the hybrid than for the two channel catfish lines, and higher for females than for males in all genetic groups. Head yield and total viscera yield were higher for the channel catfish lines than the hybrid. Head yield was higher for males than for females, and total viscera yield was higher for females than for males. Visceral fat yield was higher for the hybrid than for the two channel catfish lines. Instrumental and sensory panel analysis indicated only minor differences among genetic groups for fillet quality. Thus, catfish producers and processors can improve important traits and increase profits by utilizing catfish lines with superior performance.