The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has decided to suspend the 2010 tilapia stocking program at Lake Hogue and Mallard Lake.
The high cost of restocking tilapia into these public fishing lakes in northeast Arkansas is the reason for the decision.
Program managers determined that ½ to ¾ pound fish would cost from $1.75 to $2.32 each to continue the program this spring.
In comparison largemouth bass fingerlings cost about a nickel each to add to lakes.
Catchable channel catfish cost about 80 cents per pound to stock.
Tilapia have been stocked in Lake Hogue since 2001.
What was once an experiment to provide more food for bass has evolved into a popular sportfish for anglers.
However, over the years prices for this African bream climbed due to increased demand as a food fish and elevated production costs.
This past winter, harsh winter weather caused high mortality rates at many of the facilities in the southern U.S. that normally produce and overwinter tilapia. Competition for the remaining tilapia stocks pushed prices to a level that was deemed to be too high.
Tilapia program managers are hoping that fish stocks will rebound this summer and winter to the point where prices will drop to the point where tilapia stocking can be resumed in 2011.