Aquaculture production across the United States is on the rise, with Pennsylvania first in the production of trout distributed for conservation and recreational purposes. Pennsylvania farms also produce carp, catfish, hybrid striped bass, perch, tilapia, walleye, bait fish, ornamental fish, sport fish, soft-shell crabs, crawfish, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp and snails. With annual sales totaling almost $11 million.
This industry is not without problems, with damage from wild birds and mammals that can cause financial loss ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars annually. Fish–eating birds are the primary predators responsible for damage. Species most commonly documented causing damage include herons, egrets, osprey, eagles, cormorants, kingfishers, blackbirds, grackles, and ducks. Mammal species can also cause damage by either direct predation from otter, mink, raccoons, and even black bears or through indirect damage like flooding from beaver and burrowing from muskrats. Damage from wildlife can often cripple a producer by injuring fish where they can’t be sold, killing large numbers of fish from a size class requiring years to replace, cause flooding, or costly damage to aeration and filtration structures.