|High-end restaurant with paddlefish caviar and meat.|
Raising paddlefish in ponds with channel catfish or in reservoir ranching is both sustainable and economically promising in temperate climates. The fish grows fast by filter feeding on zooplankton and is valuable for its boneless meat and black roe processed as caviar. Currently, there are only a few hatcheries that produce stocker paddlefish, and supply of the fingerlings is limited, which inversely effects the price (≥3). Chefs at high-end restaurants indicated that the meat was versatile, with many ways of preparation, and that the caviar was a suitable substitute for the more pricy sturgeon caviar.
However, inconsistent supply of these products has slowed its market development. To develop this industry and increase supply, existing bodies of water are needed to produce paddlefish. Catfish farmers and land owners should consider stocking paddlefish into their ponds and private reservoirs. Federal and state governments need to consider changing regulations to permit the stocking and harvesting of paddlefish in selected public reservoirs.