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Seeking to diversify his livestock business, which produces 110,000 hogs a year in Bailey, R. C. Hunt chose aquaculture. Seven years ago he opened Southern Farms Tilapia, which at the time was the state's first tilapia hatchery. The farm is now among the country's top five in tilapia production and will produce two million pounds in 2004.
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Lake Julian near Asheville is a man-made lake created for the Skyland steam electric generating plant. Because of the resultant high water temperature, 6,000 tilapia fish, who are accustomed to warmth, were released into the lake on an experimental basis. Female tilapia brood their eggs in their mouth while their male mate digs a nest. Each then take turns guarding the nest from other fish, such as largemouth bass, which also thrive in the lake. Thus far, the warmed water has not proven a problem for the tilapia, although several fish kills have been observed both in the summer and in the winter.
The State (NoCar F 251 S77), Vol. 44 Issue 8, Jan 1977, p10-11, il
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