Fish farming: What you need to know
Fish farming falls under the animal production sector of agriculture, which can also be described as aquaculture. Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organism like fishes, crustaceans, crabs etc., in fresh, salty or brackish water. Fishes are a known source for protein, as well as omega-3 fatth acid. vitamins and many other minerals.
Fish farming involves the planned growth and cultivation of fishes in tanks or proper enclosures for harvesting as food or commercial purpose.
Important aspects to consider in fishery include supply and demand, capital costs, operating costs, legal aspects and production capabilities. Evaluate the current market and see if there is room and demand for a new fish farm.
Furthermore, you need training once you decide that fish farming is a viable and profitable endeavor, it’s recommended that you work at an operating fishery to learn the ropes. There are a number of technical and managerial skills that you must perfect before venturing off to start the business. Working at a successful fish farm will teach you how to perform water quality management, disease control, feeding, marketing and processing skills. Without this knowledge, you may run into difficulties in the future
To start a fish farming business, here are few guidelines to help you make it a bit easier:
Secure a Land
Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you want to operate, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm. If you already have a compound with leftover space you think can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it. Make sure your land is close by for easy access.
You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
Dig a Borehole
Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water needs to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water are the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.
This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.
Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. Juvenile fish is young fish that are used in starting fishery. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.
Not the kind of training you get from one day seminars, you need to get attached to a fish farm for proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months training on this. The training will help you know how to choose the right diet for your fish, when to feed your fish, how you can vary thier diet and also how to makefeed from locally available ingredients.
Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.
Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, Fish farming does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can setup fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a spacious compound, you can easily setup a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.
Risks and challenges in Fish Farming
Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result to degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.
Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farm. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.
Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there is good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.
There is no by-product in fishery unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh.
There is no doubt that fish farming is very lucrative and profitable in Nigeria. You need to get it right by drawing complete business plan and following it to the letter. You need to apply good management skills and follow the acceptable standard. If you do all these, you are sure to make good profit from your fish farming business.