Growth of Channel Catfish in Saline Groundwaters of the Pecos Valley of New Mexico
The essentially unused 18.5 trillion m3 of saline (>3,000 mg/L) groundwater in New Mexico cannot be readily utilized by conventional water users. However, its use for production of euryhaline species offers potential opportunities in the state because of the rapid growth of aquaculture and increasing demand for fishery products in the United States.
The objective of this research was to evaluate the potential use of saline groundwater for culture of channel catfish, a species with high consumer acceptance. Laboratory studies in circular tanks at the Roswell Test Facility indicate that finqerling channel catfish can be grown efficiently in groundwaters with salinities <6,500 mg/L. Percent weight gain, food conversion, and survival of channel catfish at these salinities were comparable to results of other studies done in fresh water. Further evluation of the economic feasibility of the culture of channel catfish and other species should be made usinq specific criteria for potential sites and different production systems. Results of this study indicate there are no biological reasons why saline ground waters of the Pecos Valley cannot be used for aquaculture purposes.
Keywords: Channel catfish, saline groundwaters, pecos, aquaculture, fishery products