The rearing of fish and any other aquatic animal in a controlled environment is termed aquaculture. The extent of control exercised on the forces of nature is further used to classify aquaculture into extensive, semi-intensive and intensive system. Catfishes of the family Claridae comprise the most commonly cultivated fishes in Nigeria. The growth of aquaculture in Nigeria now is largely being boosted by a steady rise in catfish culture. Since the culture of Clarias gariepinus through hypophysation was initiated in Western Nigeria in 1973, the procedure has been widely practiced throughout Nigeria thus leading to increase of farm-raised catfishes from the 80’s to date. The favoured catfish species in Nigeria aquaculture include: Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, Clarias X Heterobranchus hybrid (Heteroclarias) and Clarias nigrodigitatus. Heterobranchus sp is the more commonly cultured fish in the South Eastern parts of Nigeria. LARVAL PRODUCTION
Despite the popularity of the African catfish and its great market potentials, the production is still basically at subsistence level due majorly to inadequate availability of seed for stocking and feed problems. In Nigeria however, the fingerlings supplied from both the government and privately owned hatcheries are not enough to meet the catfish farmers’ fingerling demands. Artificial propagation of C. gariepinus is now carried out in hatcheries with hormonal induction.
Recent trends all over the world, point to a decline in landing from capture fisheries, an indicator that fish stocks have approached or even exceeded the point of maximum sustainable yield. Aquaculture therefore remains the only viable alternative for increasing fish production in order to meet the protein need of the people. FAO (1993) reported that 27,488MT of catfishes produced in 1990 in Nigeria, were consumed locally. This implies that there is still great need for higher...