This study reports the results of an investigation into the costs of culturing yellow perch for the food fish market in the North Central Region (NCR). Enterprise budgets were developed for both cage and pond production systems at two size levels, 5,000 and 50,000 pounds of production. Because only a handful of established yellow perch aquaculture operations currently exist in the NCR, hypothetical production systems were modeled. Production values used in the budgets (e.g., feed conversion ratio, death loss, stocking rate) were based on the expert opinion of research and extension personnel at various universities in the NCR who are familiar with yellow perch. The production costs developed in this study suggest that larger systems, which can capture economies of size in investment and input costs, are likely to be economically feasible. The breakeven prices (cost per pound) for the larger cage and pond operations were similar and averaged about $2.00 per pound. This price is near the bottom of the range of monthly average wholesale market prices for yellow perch in the round reported by Lake Erie processors.
Iowa State University