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Recreational and Commercial Ponds in the Southeastern United States: Factors Influencing Nutrients and Fish Production pp. 37-56 $100.00
Authors:  (Andrew W. McDonnell, Tyler J. Stubbs, Robert Kröger, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mississippi State, Mississippi)
Recreational fishing is a popular pastime in the United States. Private stakeholders along with state and federal agency fishery managers are dedicated to increasing the productivity of their ponds to enhance this recreation. One of the procedures utilized for the attainment of maximum fish production is the application of inorganic fertilizers. In the southeastern United States fertilization is a widely accepted management tool. The purpose of fertilization is to increase phytoplankton production, which in turn results in an increase of zooplankton biomass and more food for fish by trophic cascade. The use of fertilizers to increase the production of fish in ponds has become widespread in recent years. It has been shown, however, that the physical characteristics and water chemistry of lakes also influence lake productivity. Fish production and condition in unfertilized ponds are inextricably linked to the amount of bioavailable nutrients in the water column. Additional variables such as sediment nutrients, benthic macro-invertebrate communities and macrophytes could play important roles in regulating the amount of available nutrients necessary to influence productivity at different trophic levels. While recreational ponds rely on nutrient availability through trophic cascade, fish production in commercial ponds depend on nutrients from supplemental food in the form of manufactured feed. Commercial catfish aquaculture takes place in earthen ponds where supplemental feed increases biomass for subsequent harvest. Production is often limited by low dissolved oxygen concentrations and nitrogen toxicity in the form of ammonia and nitrite accumulation in the system. The Mississippi River Alluvial Valley in the southeastern United States comprises nearly 65% of the total land devoted to catfish aquaculture in the United States. It is predicted that in the next two decades commercial catfish production will need to increase 5-fold to accommodate the human protein requirements. This increased need in production may prove difficult to accomplish in conventional earthen ponds. Today, new innovative strategies are taking aim at improving pond conditions and increasing production by enhancing dissolved oxygen concentrations and reducing harmful nitrogenous toxicity. The Split Pond System (SPS) is one new strategy which uses mass algal communities to assimilate harmful ammonia and increase dissolved oxygen concentrations through photosynthesis during the day. The SPS uses a low-speed water wheel which circulates pond water between a fish compartment and a waste treatment compartment. The water wheel enables the suspension of particulate matter in the water column facilitating nitrogen biogeochemical transformations. The production associated with a SPS is estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds of catfish acre-1; 3-5 times greater than traditional earthen ponds. Nutrient management strategies in both recreational and commercial fish ponds are an essential tool in sustaining quality fish for both sport and economic value in the southeastern United States. 

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Recreational and Commercial Ponds in the Southeastern United States: Factors Influencing Nutrients and Fish Production pp. 37-56