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Green, B., D. Teichert-Coddington and T. Hanson

Date: 1994

Funding Agency: USAID

Keywords: honduras, aquaculture, tilapia, ponds, development, international

Category: International Funded Research Report

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Aquacultural research has been conducted collaboratively in
Honduras since 1983 by the

International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments.
Auburn University and the

Direccion General de Pesca y Acuicultura, Secretaria de Recursos
Naturales. This research was

carried out at the EJ Carao National Fish Culture Research
Center, Comayagua, Honduras, under the

auspices of the USAID-financed Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture
Collaborative Research Support

Program (PD/A CRSP). The goal of PD/A CRSP is to increase
tilapia yields by optimizing resource

use in systems based predominantly on natural pond productivity.

Ponds were stocked with male Nile tilapia (Oreochromis
niloticus). Pond nutrient inputs

were organic and chemical fertilizers, and supplemental feed either
alone or in some combination.

Fish stocking rate was 10,000/ha during the initial five years
of work. During this same period,

experiments were repeated during the rainy and dry seasons on
the assumption that seasonal differences

would significantly affect pond productivity. However,
temperature proved to be the factor

that affected fish growth most, and the cooler period of the year overlapped the rainy and dry seasons.

Thereafter. a warm and cool experimental season was used rather
than a rainy and dry season.

Difference in fish yield between warm and cool seasons can
exceed 25 percent.

Stocking more than 10,000 fish/ha in organically-fertilized
ponds resulted in smaller fish and no

greater fish yields. Increasing stocking rate to 20,000/ha resulted
in greater yield when organic

fertilizer (chicken litter) was supplemented with nitrogen as
urea. In research on the combination of

organic fertilization and supplemental feeds, feed use was more
efficient when combined in low

amounts (1.5 percent biomass/d) with fertilizer, or when used
beginning the third or fourth month of

grow-out. Higher economic gains with feed over sole use of
chicken litter were never realized at

stocking rates less than 20,000 fish/ha. Economic returns from
organic fertilizer plus feed were no

greater than returns from organic fertilizer plus nitrogen as urea. Tilapia yields of 3,500 kg/ha in 150

days were obtained in fertilized ponds without feeds. Yields
increased to 5,300 kg/ha in 150 days

when supplemental feeds were used, but high feed cost reduced
net return to less than those for

fertilizers alone.

Assuming a market value independent of fish size, manure plus
urea was the most profitable

management system. Sixteen pond management strategies resulted
in positive economic returns. All

treatments with positive economic returns used stocking rates of
at least 20,000 tilapia/ha. Production

of large tilapia (> 400 g) necessitates the use of formulated
feeds, but a higher market value for

large tilapia is required in order for profitability of this
management system to exceed that of systems

based on organic fertilization plus urea. Large tilapia
generally are produced for export markets

and require more intensive production practices. Tilapia
harvested from semi-intensively

managed ponds can supply domestic markets in Central America.
Combined use of organic and

chemical fertilizers as nutrient inputs for tilapia ponds
requires less capital expenditure than commercial

feeds, and therefore are appropriate for small- to medium-scale
commercial producers who supply domestic markets.

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