The effect of a redistribution of the majority of total trap harvest days (69) during April through October on yield of red swamp crawfish Procambarus clarkii cultured in earthen ponds without planted forage was evaluated in northeast Mississippi, USA (Latitude 33.45 and Longitude 88.82). The majority of trap days occurred from either April through June (55.1%), early harvest schedule, or July through October (62.3%), late harvest schedule. Twelve ponds (0.04–0.05 ha), 6 replicates per trap harvest strategy, that already contained established populations were provided a pelleted feed during 10 mo and trap harvested according to a common protocol except for the different monthly schedules. For the early and late harvest schedule treatments, mean total production (2448 and 2269 kg/ha), mean number harvested per ha (105,770 and 104,411/ha), and mean individual harvest weight (23.6 and 22.1 g) were not significantly different. These results suggest that the majority of trap harvesting in ponds without planted forage can occur after trap harvest in forage based culture ponds and natural habitats is usually terminated. When traditional supply is low, price and demand can be high in certain markets. This successful shift in harvest days introduces flexibility in management strategies that could be critical to the financial success of an enterprise based on production of crawfish in ponds without planted forage.
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Vol. 25 • No. 2