Enhancing Farmers' Income through Polyculture of Paddlefish with Catfish in the Southern Region

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1999: $140,135.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Stephen D. Mims
Kentucky State University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: fish


  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: market study, value added
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban agriculture, employment opportunities


    Paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, is an alternative fish species that can be cultured together with channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, providing additional income to farmers through diversification. The growth model for this regional project preformed in Alabama, Kentucky and Oklahoma indicated significantly greater weight gains of fish in KY (2.74 kg) and AL (2.52 kg) than fish in OK (2.24 kg). The addition of paddlefish to a catfish pond can increase production up to 300 kg/ha, with input costs of only fingerlings (> 35 cm in total length) and harvest and can contribute to farm income. Market survey identified paddlefish as desirable.

    Project objectives:

    1. To determine the effects of stocking density on the growth performance of paddlefish in catfish ponds in different areas of the southeast region of the United States and
    2. To assess buyers’ acceptability of paddlefish meat, willingness to the buy paddlefish products and their relevant demographic information, and to develop appropriate strategies for marketing paddlefish meat.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.