Evaluation of a Split-Pond Production System for Baitfish Culture
Award last edited on: 3/31/2021

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Harry J Saul

Company Information

Harry Saul Minnow Farm Inc

7689 Highway 70 E
Devalls Bluff, AR 72041
   (870) 998-2585
Location: Single
Congr. District: 01
County: Prairie

Phase I

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Arkansas produces 80 percent of all the baitfish in the US and annually exports more than 6 billion baitfish nationwide. However, baitfish farmers have suffered from a productivity reduction due to serious fish losses resulting from interminable predation and extensive inventory control in traditional ponds. Recently, unprecedented bird predation and unknown factors, possibly due to climate change and extensive management, have diminished baitfish population in the ponds. Since the SPS has been proposed as an alternative pond system in the catfish industry, baitfish farmers have been interested in applying the SPS to baitfish culture. The SPS is divided into two sections by a levee and intensively confines fish in a relatively small area (20% fish-basin and 80% treatment-basin). It allows further intensification and many other benefits (intensive management, improved inventory control, and efficient anti-predation). Although the SPS has been developed and applied for catfish culture on a commercial scale, the system has not yet been applied to baitfish culture. Because a baitfish culture regime is considerably different than a catfish culture regime or the regimes of other large food fish, many different elements must be taken into consideration when designing and operating the SPS and the system must be carefully modified for successful application to baitfish. We are seeking to optimize SPS technology for baitfish culture. The objectives include: Development of a water circulator and baitfish confinement barriers and evaluation of their engineering performance; Fish growth and economic analyses. We have closely communicated with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on a prototype system and prepared its commercialization. If successful, the application of SPS to batfish culture will enhance our production and business regimes using energy efficient technology and will enable other baitfish farmers to cope with production challenges and problems that they have faced for a long time. The results will also help other baifish producers improve the profitability and sustainability of their operations, thus ensuring their future survival.

Phase II

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