Scientists who developed a faster-growing catfish won the USDA Agricultural Research Service's top technology transfer award for 2003.
The winners of the research agency's "Outstanding Effort in Technology Transfer in 2003" are members of research teams. The Catfish Genetics Research Team in Stoneville, Miss., consists of William R. Wolters, Geoffrey C. Waldbieser, Brian G. Bosworth and Jeffrey T. Silverstein.
"This year's winners continue to show how effective ARS scientists are in moving technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, where consumers and industry benefit," said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS administrator. He awarded the winners yesterday during a ceremony in New Orleans, La.
The new catfish line, NWAC103, was named in recognition of the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center (NWAC) in Stoneville, where it was released jointly in 2001 by ARS and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. During performance trials, NWAC103 catfish consumed 10 percent more feed and grew 10 to 20 percent faster than commercial catfish.
The catfish industry in the United States has a farm-gate value of about $409 million, the highest value of any cultured aquatic species. Until the release of NWAC103, genetic improvement has had little impact on commercial catfish production. Since its release, NWAC103's popularity has grown, and in 2002 it held 14 percent of the market.