Date of this Version
NWAC NEWS, February 2022, pp 4-5
The Double-crested Cormorant is the primary avian predator on catfish farms causing significant economic losses primarily due to 1) on-farm expenditures related to bird-management activities and 2) value of the catfish lost to cormorants. This comprehensive economic study quantified these two economic effects by surveying catfish farms in the delta regions of Mississippi and Arkansas. On-farm expenditures for bird scaring were used to quantify bird-management costs. Economic losses from fish consumed by cormorants were quantified by evaluating data from field studies of the abundance, distribution, and diet of cormorants in the Mississippi delta. This study found that catfish farmers spent an average of $285 per acre on farms to scare birds, making bird-scaring costs one of the top five expenditures of raising catfish. Expenses for manpower (labor/manager) were the greatest cost, followed by vehicle expenses (fuel/depreciation/repairs/maintenance) used to run birds, and cost of levee upkeep to chase birds (Figure 1). Many of these costs were fixed in that effort was needed regardless of the volume of catfish produced. Increased fixed costs disproportionally harm small catfish farms because of their limited scale of production.
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