With the objective of augmenting fish production in Mount Storm Lake, Virginia Electric and Power Company initiated a programme of phosphorus addition to increase primary production, and ultimately, channel catfish (Ictaturus punctatus) growth in the 486 ha cooling reservoir. We simulated channel catfish growth dynamics using two bioenergetics modelling scenarios: (i) effects of average reservoir temperature on growth, conversion efficiency and consumption; and (ii) effects of reservoir enrichment on growth, which is simulated by increasing feeding rates. During 1991-1993, fish were sampled monthly, but sampling was increased to every 2 weeks during the peak growing season (June-September). Most of the channel catfish collected were aged 0 year and aged 1 year with rapid annual growth rates ranging from 9.0 to 13.7 J/g. We found many age 1 250-300 mm catfish, but few beyond this size. Conversion efficiency (joules gained/joules consumed) was low at approximately 18-19%. High algae consumption (40%) was evident, but consumption of zooplankton and Asiatic clam (Corbicula sp.) increased over the study. Simulated increased feeding rates showed that channel catfish were food limited in summer and fall (July-December). Weight gains with 5 and 10% feeding increases were 6-13% and 18-38%, respectively, from the baseline. Catfish of all sizes should benefit from phosphorus additions.
Additional publication details
Effects of nutrient enrichment on channel catfish growth and consumption in Mount Storm Lake, West Virginia