Red Drum Production of Food Fish by gjjur4356


									                                                                                                                SRAC Publication No. 322


                                              June, 1990

                                                    Red Drum
                                            Production of Food Fish

                                                           James T. Davis*

Production of food sized red drum is                                                       Good results are obtained with one
now being practiced using two                                                              gallon of liquid 10-34-0 fertilizer per
methods. The more conventional                                                             acre added when water is 1 foot deep.
method is semi-intensive culture in                                                        A second gallon per acre is then
ponds. The other method, intensive in-                                                     added when the pond is full. Further
door raceway culture, is unproven                                                          fertilization usually is not required as
from an economic standpoint. This                                                          uneaten feed and fecal material will
series of publications will focus on                                                       adequately fertilize the water when
pond production. For more detailed in-                                                     feeding starts.
formation on red drum production con-
sult the other fact sheets in this series           Redfish (Sciaenops ocellata)           A recent development in starting these
or the revised Manual for Red Drum                                                         small fingerlings is copied from the
Aquaculture published by the Texas                                                         catfish industry. Fingerlings are
Agricultural Extension Service in              critically low temperature of the water     placed in the pond as soon as the
1990.                                          will determine the success of pond cul-     water depth reaches 1 foot. Water is
                                               ture of red drum in the future.             then added to the pond at a rate of 6
Overwintering                                                                              inches per day, and the fish are fed
                                               Stocking                                    three times daily. The shallow depth
The major factor affecting the com-                                                        enables the fish to find the feed more
mercial production of food sized red           Most fingerling red drum are stocked        readily.
drum in outdoor ponds is their normal          into ponds for growout at a rate of
growth rate. Twelve months (two                2,000 to 4,000 per acre. The higher         When stocking fish more than
growing seasons) are needed for the            rate may be attempted where good            6 inches in length, ponds should be
fish to reach marketable size. This            quality saline water is readily avail-      fertilized if a suitable plankton popula-
means that fish will have to be over-          able and experience indicates prob-         tion does not develop within 2 weeks.
wintered. The cold weather in Decem-           able success. Water quality and pond        Plankton population should be dense
ber of 1989 killed most red drum in            depths are discussed in SRAC Publica-       enough that light penetration does not
outdoor ponds. The only survivors              tion No. 321, Red Drum: Site Selec-         exceed 3 feet.
were in reservoirs or tanks receiving a        tion and Pond Construction. Ponds
                                               should be filled at least 1 week but not    The date of stocking can vary but
constant supply of warm water.                                                             should be set as soon as pond water
                                               more than 2 weeks before stocking
The following discussion is based on           fingerlings less than 2 inches in           reaches 50°F. Red drum will feed at
successes to date. The occurrence of           length. The water should be fertilized      this temperature and can survive at
                                               when entering the pond. The amount          temperatures 5 or 6ºF lower if a cool
* The Texas A&M University System              and analysis of the fertilizer will vary.   front passes.
Feeds and feeding                           made to assure that all feed is eaten.     this period. Measurements also are
                                            Follow these general rules:                taken during the late afternoon and
Opinions differ on the best feed for                                                   evening to predict the possibility of
fingerling red drum. Based on field tri-    q    Feed the fish, not the pond.
                                                                                       low night-time dissolved oxygen
als to date, a floating pellet containing   q   Do not feed in the rain as fish will   levels. If a regular schedule of measur-
35 percent protein is an economical             not feed.                              ing and recording the dissolved
feed that provides good growth. Feeds                                                  oxygen in each pond at 6 a.m., 6 p.m.
should have at least 12 percent fish        q   Cut feeding rate by 1/2 when
                                                water temperatures exceed 90°F.        and 10 p.m. is followed, it is possible
meal, and the addition of shrimp head                                                  to be quite accurate in this prediction.
meal tends to improve palatability.         q   Unless adequate aeration is avail-     Corrective action may be taken by
Other ingredients are usually soybean           able, cease feeding when more          pumping or using aeration as
meal, ground                                    than 4 consecutive days of over-       described in SRAC publications 370
yellow corn, a vitamin premix and               cast weather have occurred. Feed-      and 371 on pond aeration.
minerals.                                       ing may be resumed after the first
                                                day of sunshine.                       Monitoring the temperature, salinity
Pellet size must be small enough to be                                                 and pH also is important. Each of
swallowed. If the pellets are too large,    q   Adjust feeding during periods of       these can be affected when well water
fish will not utilize the feed well. If         high humidity or low pressure.         or surface water is added. Both sur-
the pellets are too small, or                   Oxygen tension is low and fish         face and bottom water sampling are
a meal feed is used, then much will be          are sluggish.                          important to make decisions about
lost on the bottom of the pond. Do not      q   Morning is the preferred time to       flushing the pond to remove accumu-
change the type or size of feed sudden-         feed. If maximum growth is             lated feed and fecal material, break up
ly. Fish moved to a new location                desired, split the feeding between     stratification and increase or decrease
should be fed the same feed used pre-           morning and evening.                   salinity. Correction of undesirable
viously for at least one week. Change                                                  water conditions based on regular sam-
feed type or size gradually over a          q   Feed in water less that 4 feet         pling often determines economic suc-
period of at least                              deep. Deep waters tend to be           cess in red drum production.
7 days.                                         lower in oxygen content and fish
                                                may not feed.                          Harvesting
After the proper feed is selected more
decisions are required. Most farmers        q   At least 10 percent (preferably 25     Timing of harvest is critical. The
feed fish manually. For optimum                 percent) of the pond area should       most important factor is market
growth, fish should be fed ap-                  be covered when feeding.               availability. If fish are sold for imme-
proximately 3 to 5 percent of their         q   Red drum do not feed well below        diate processing, the pond can be
body weight daily until they reach 1            60°F. During cool weather feed         seined with a grading seine that cap-
pound. The 3 percent rate is common.            on warm sunny afternoons.              tures fish of desired sizes. Remaining
Above 1 pound, 2 percent of their                                                      smaller fish will have more space in
body weight is adequate. Do not at-         q   If fish stop feeding, determine the
                                                cause immediately and correct it.      which to grow and less competition
tempt to use ready-made feeding                                                        for food. Multiple harvests yield
tables. At best these “short cuts” will         Don’t resume feeding until the ad-
                                                 verse conditions present are cor-     more pounds per acre. If fish are sold
fail to assure maximum growth. At                                                      for use in fee fishing operations, they
worst they will either underfeed the            rected.
                                                                                       must be handled gently with mini-
fish, which will result in poor growth,     q    During the summer months do           mum stress. Fish should not be fed for
or overfeed the fish and cause water             not feed for at least 24 hours        24 to 48 hours before harvest, and
quality problems. One short cut that             before harvesting the fish.           well aerated, cool water should be
has worked well is to feed a floating                                                  pumped into the pond for 4 to 6 hours
pellet and provide all the feed that the    Water quality                              before seining.
fish will consume in 15 minutes. Feed
fish at least twice a day until they        The most critical component of water       When the seine is pulled near shore
reach 8 inches. Larger fish usually are     quality for red drum is dissolved          and fish become crowded, aerators
fed only once per day.                      oxygen, just as it is for other species    and/or fresh water should be avail-
                                            of fish and shellfish. A reduction in      able. This practice minimizes death
Under the best conditions, fish will        growth is apparent when dissolved          losses from excessive stress.
double their weight every 30 to 60          oxygen levels drop below 4 ppm.
days depending on size. Therefore, in-      Below 3 ppm the fish become                If a complete harvest is desirable, the
crease the amount of feed fed daily or      stressed, go off feed and may suc-         pond can be drained after most fish
at least weekly. Calculation of a cer-      cumb to diseases. Experienced pond         are removed by seining. If the drain
tain percentage of body weight does         managers know that dissolved oxygen        pipe is of appropriate size, the remain-
not mean this is exactly what the fish      is lowest in the early morning hours       ing fish can be drawn through the pipe
will eat. A continuous check must be        and measure dissolved oxygen during        and collected in nets. If the drain pipe
Table 1. Preliminary projected income statement for a hypothetical 120-acre commercial
          redfish (red drum) farm (first 5 years).

PROJECTED TOTAL HARVEST AND YIELDS:             lst         2nd          3rd       4th          5th
 Total harvest, whole tbs. in 1,000s:             o        427.5        427.5     427.5        427.5
 Average yield, whole Ibs. per acre:              o        3,563        3,563     3,563        3,563

GROSS SALES:                                                           (in 1,000s)
 Redfish (Red Drum), whole fish:                $0.0      $102.6        $102.6 $102.6         $102.6
 Redfish (Red Drum), processed fish:             0.0       481.5         481.5     481.5       481.5

TOTAL GROSS SALES:                              $0.0      $584.1       $584.1    $584.1       $584.1

DIRECT OPERATING EXPENSES:                                             (in 1,000s)
  Fingerlings (if purchased)                   $14.1       $14.1         $14.1     $14.1       $14.1
  Feed, yearlings and growout fish             $48.8      $133.4        $127.8 $122.3         $116.7
  Processing                                     0.0        30.1          30.1      30.1        30.1
  Fertilizer                                     1.0         4.7            4.7      4.7         4.7

TOTAL DIRECT EXPENSES:                         $63.8      $182.3       $176.7 $171.2          $165.6

GROSS PROFIT:                                 ($63.8)     $401.8       $407.4 $412.9          $418.5

OTHER OPERATING EXPENSES: (3.0% Inflation/Year)                        (in 1,000s)
 Salaries, manager and technicians       $72.4              $74.6        $76.9     $79.2       $81.5
 Electricity                               10.7              56.4         58.1      59.8        61.6
 Wage labor 24 man-hrs/pond                 1.0               2.5          2.6       2.7         2.7
 Land leasing fees                        13.5               14.0         14.4      14.8        15.2
 Total depreciation                       74.5              126.7         89.5      67.1        67.1
 Business insurance                       10.0               10.3         10.6      10.9        11.3
 Professional fee                         15.0                5.0          5.2       5.3         5.5
 Licenses and property taxes                4.0               4.1          4.2       4.4         4.5
 Car and truck expenses                     6.0               6.2           6.4      6.6         6.8
 Miscellaneous expenses                     5.0               5.2          5.3       5.5         5.6
 Pond and other maintenance               10.0               10.3         10.6      10.9        11.3

TOTAL OTHER OPERATING EXPENSES:               $222.1      $315.3       $283.7 $267.1          $273.1

TOTAL DIRECT AND OTHER EXPENSES:              $285.9      $497.6       $460.4 $438.3          $438.7

NET OPERATING INCOME BEFORE TAXES: ($285.9)                 $86.5      $123.7 $145.8          $145.4

ESTIMATED INCOME TAXES:*                        $0.0        $22.9       $38.9 $48.9            $48.7

NET OPERATING INCOME AFTER TAXES:            ($285.9)       $63.7       $84.8      $96.9       $96.7

*Estimated income taxes do not include alternative minimum taxes and other taxes applicable to corporations.
is too small, fish must be picked up by               provided a market for farm raised fish.               food conversion ratios red drum re-
hand when the water is removed from                   Most of these processors sell to                      quire 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of feed per
the pond.                                             wholesalers who transport the fish                    pound of gain. Additional costs are
                                                      fish directly to retailers. For fish                  very similar to those projected for the
Hauling containers for fish are recom-                grown at inland locations this is not a               channel catfish industry. This seems
mended in other SRAC publications.                    ready solution.
For best results, fish should be kept                                                                       to show a cost of production under
                                                                                                            ideal conditions that would ap-
alive until they reach their market des-              Other possible outlets for red drum                   proximate $1.15 per pound when the
tination. Fish will be more acceptable                are sales to fee fishing operations. At               cost of fingerlings and labor, amor-
and less likely to have undesirable                   present this is an unexplored market
                                                                                                            tization of debt and delivery to a
flavors if they are kept alive until                  because of the failure of fish to live                processing plant are added. Because
processed.                                            overwinter. If warm water is avail-                   the market has not been tested, the
                                                      able, red drum could be kept in fee                   profit picture is clouded. The general-
If fish cannot be kept alive, then they               fishing ponds throughout the year and
should be sold gilled and gutted on                                                                         ly quoted price of $1.30 to $1.35 per
                                                      furnish a valuable recreational fishing               pound for whole, live fish leaves a
ice. This procedure provides accept-                  opportunity. At least one small
able results.                                                                                               very small profit margin at 3,500
                                                      operator processes the fish at his                    pounds per acre.
                                                      production facility and sells directly
Marketing                                             to the public. This method of market-                 A preliminary projected income state-
The most recent figures available                     ing has the advantage of higher fish                  ment for a hypothetical commercial
(1986) show that the market for red                   prices. The disadvantage is a very                    redfish (red drum) farm is shown in
drum was 13.5 million pounds. Most                    long sales period rather than selling                 Table 1.
of the landings come from the Gulf                    the fish atone time. There also is the
                                                      possibility that future health regula-                To develop accurate predictions on
Coast. Because the Gulf is now closed                                                                       profitability of a red drum operation,
to commercial capture of red drum,                    tions will mandate standards for even
                                                      the smallest processing plants.                       it is recommended that the prospec-
this seems to show that aquiculture                                                                         tive producer take advantage of one of
production of red drum should have a                                                                        the decision making computer
ready market. In addition, several                    Production economics                                  programs. These are described in
states have passed laws that allow                    Very limited data is available on ac-                 detail in SRAC Publication No. 380,
only red drum produced in aquacul-                    tual production costs at commercial in-               Computer Software for Aquaculture.
ture installations to be sold in the state.           stallations. Four operators produced
Processing plants on the Gulf have                    and sold marketable red drum during
traditionally processed red drum and                  the past two years. Based on reported

This publication was supported in part by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, Number 87-CRSR-2-3218, sponsored jointly by the
Cooperative State Research Service and the Extension Service.

To top