Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides; LMB) are one of the most popular sportfish in the United States. They are also one of the most popular table fares, especially in live Asian markets. The majority of LMB foodfish producers in the Midwest purchase fingerlings from southern states, typically 10 – 13 cm total length (4 – 5 in), in early spring of their second year. These fish are then stocked into grow-out ponds until they reach market size 0.68 kg (1.50 lb). Sometimes it is necessary to purchase smaller feed-habituated LMB in year one, and they are held in nursery ponds and later split to lower densities for grow-out. Whether cultured to a fingerling size for stock enhancement or cultured to the food market size, cannibalism in low-density production ponds is a major problem for producers; especially during the early growth stage. The PIs propose investigating intensified alternative production systems for LMB, which could allow for reduced cannibalism, lowered feed conversation ratios, improved opportunity for sheltering from piscivorous birds, and increased yields. Replicated systems will be evaluated for their applicability for largemouth bass producers in the Midwest. Information will be relayed to producers through field days, printed materials, presentations, among other avenues.
- To evaluate two alternative pond-based production systems (split ponds and pond-side tank culture) in the Midwest on largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, quantified production parameters.
- To investigate and compare changes in water quality and the aquatic food web in the pond-based production systems.
- To investigate the effect of the two alternative pond-based production methods (split ponds and pond-side tank culture) on LMB response to stress.
- To conduct an on-farm extension demonstration of the pond-side tank culture system.
- To immediately disseminate results to industry via final termination report, NCRAC Extension fact sheet, on-farm and university-based workshops, videos, and other information technology transfer strategies.