Keep Bait Shrimp Alive and Supercharged

OXYGEN REDUCES LIVE BAIT KILL, INCREASES PROFITS FOR TEXAS COASTAL BAIT DEALERS

SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM – TEXAS A & M UNIVERSITY

MARINE ADVISORY

“Live Bait Recirculating Systems for Coastal Locations “

Sea Grant College researchers published information showing substantial financial savings for bait dealers converting from aeration to compressed oxygen systems. Texas coastal bait dealers who have converted ineffective aeration systems to compressed oxygen systems indicated a 50% – 60% reduction in live bait mortality during the summer. Bait dealers converting to compressed oxygen systems reported average savings of $19,000 the first year due to increased summer live bait survival rates. Bait dealers make more money selling live bait.

Costs to modify an existing bait tank aeration system to a compressed oxygen system is $2,000, including water quality testing equipment. What’s outstanding is that this $2,000 oxygen system investment normally pays out the first month of operation. Oxygen systems may be easily customized for your specific live bait operation.

Dissolved oxygen is the most critical water quality parameter affecting the survival of saltwater live bait in the summer. Administering compressed 100% oxygen through a venturi system or bubbler system sustains supersaturated dissolved oxygen concentrations in live holding tanks which exceeds the oxygenation capabilities of any mechanical aeration system. Compressed oxygen is necessary to reduce bait tank mortality in the summer on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Texas coastal bait camps have reported high summer mortality rates for live bait shrimp, croakers, and other live bait species for years. Marine researchers found and fixed the summer bait tank oxygenation problem along the Texas Gulf Coast. In the summer, mechanical aeration systems fail to provide safe dissolved oxygen concentrations in shrimp boat hauling tanks and bait camps holding tanks resulting in high live bait mortality and morbidity and profit loss. In the summer, old and established techniques of aeration with water pumps, spray bars, flow through systems and air compressors connected to submerged bubblers have severe physical oxygen limitations. Summer bait tank water quality is severely limited by the low concentration of oxygen in air. Air contains 80% nitrogen, a filler gas, and only 20% oxygen. Oxygen is the essential gas necessary to sustain life and good health. Oxygen dissolves poorly in warm salt water resulting in more dead bait, more time and work on the shrimp boat harvesting product, higher operational costs and lower bottom line profits every summer.

The Sea Grant College Program researchers found that the most common abuse of live bait occurs on the shrimp boat when the catch is dumped into the culling box which has only small amounts of oxygen. The dissolved oxygen concentrations fall to near zero minutes after the catch is dumped. Marine animals are severely stressed in the oxygen bait tank environments and most will not survive overnight at the bait camp. Researchers corrected the summer water quality problem on shrimp boats and bait camp holding tank water with compressed oxygen.

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This Sea Grant College Marine Advisory also comes in hard copy and may be ordered via e-mail, phone or snail mail at no charge.

Contact: Texas Sea Grant Marine Information Service

Ms. Amy Broussard, Associate Director

2700 Earl Rudder Fwy. South, Suite 1800

College Station, TX 77845

Phone: (979) 845-3854

Fax: (979) 845-7525

E-mail: abrouss@unix.tamu.edu

Marine Advisory: ” Live Bait Recirculating

Systems for Coastal Locations ”

TAMU – SG – 00 – 501

1 M December 1999

NA86RG0058

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We thank Sea Grant College Program, Texas A & M University for permission to reprint.