How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed; Fish is a very healthy and nutritious protein which is popular around the world. Industrial fish farming business, or aquaculture, provides almost half the seafood around the world and this is expected to increase.
 
Fish is a delicious and nutritious protein source that is also rich in nutrients like omega-3 Fatty acids that improve our heart health and lowers our blood cholesterol level. Farmed fish has been playing an important role in meeting global protein demands.
 

If you think that fish farming is all about going to the nearest pond or a river and catching it with a fishing rod, then you could not be more wrong. Nigerians love fish and no wonder given how much access they have to places where fish grows. That is why more and more people opt to turn occasional fishing trips into a steady-growing business.

How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed
 
According to Wikipedia, “Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants”. While Aquaculture covers multiple facets, fish farming is the most common in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.
Fish farming is a profitable business that’s widespread across various parts of Nigeria. The insatiable demand for fishery products like Tilapia, Catfish, and Mackerel (Salmon) in Nigeria has constantly self-promoted the steady growth and expansion of the industry. 
 
These factors, coupled with the current support of institutions, the Nigerian government, and several other African countries to promote agriculture and also support fish farmers, makes the industry one of the most lucrative agricultural business segments to venture into.
 
Fish farming business consists of two major subdivisions, which could either be operated separately or as an integrated process. The two subdivisions are the nursery and the grow-out pond operation. The nursery operation on how to do fish farming is the basis for the grow-out operation and as such, it cannot be operated without the nursery.
 
The nursery involves the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched fish are known as fries. These fries are then nurtured for between three and four weeks into fingerlings which is the size suitable for use in the fish grow-out operation.
 
In-between the nursery and grow-out operation is what the purpose of this manual referred to as the primary operation. It involves the nurturing of the three or four weeks within which they could grow into post fingerlings, mini juveniles and juveniles respectively. These can then be nurtured for between four to five month into grow-out or table size fish suitable for sale and consumption.


 

 

How To Do Fish Farming: Types of Fish You Can Farm

Haven seen the benefits as well as the risks involved in fish farming, let’s now proceed to decide which specie of fish we want to farm. Below are some of the most popular fish species that is suitable for Aquaculture.
 
1. Cat Fish– Even though Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. One thing good about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate. So, people naturally flow to the direction of fish specie they found to be the easiest to cultivate.
 
2. Tilapia– This aquaculture business is run with freshwater fishes inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. These Tilapias are the second most popular fishes used in Nigerian meals. They’re of increasing importance in aquaculture all over the world. The fact that these fishes grow rapidly and tolerate high stocking densities and poor water quality, makes them a lucrative breed for fish farmers to grow.
 
3. Mackerel (Titus)–  This is by far the most popular fish in Nigerian market but so sad it’s not farmed. All Mackerel Fish are “wild caught” but some farmer in Nigeria are considering the possibility of creating artificial salty water that will be similar to sea water where mackerel can only survive. Can this deep blue sea fish species be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention on Catfish and Tilapia.


How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed

 

 

 
Things To Consider On How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed 

1.    Fish farming business plan
2.    Good Knowledge of fish farming
3.    Your market analysis
4.    Land size intended for use
5.    Where the fish farm will be located
6.    Pond planning, type, design, size, and construction
7.    Cost and source of water
8.    Fish feed, medication and supplements
9.    Storage system
10. Viability of fish farming business in your location
11. Knowledge and preparation for risks
 
 

 

Things To Consider On How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed 

 1. Fish farming business plan

If you are really serious about setting up a catfish farm, then you should invest in writing a business plan. This is very important as it helps you prepare and execute your growth strategies properly. Secondly, you need a business plan for your fish farm if you intend to raise capital or secure a loan from the bank for your fish farm.
 
Lastly, you will need a business plan to access the various funds and support line established by the government and other institution. So start writing your business plan today. You can seek the services of an agriculture business consultant if you need help computing the financial estimates and projections.



2. Good Knowledge of fish farming

To start your own in the aquaculture fish industry, you must first learn all about fish farming. Learning about fish farms will prepare you to make educated decisions. Visit some of the fish farms in your area or meet with people just like you who have entered the fish industry. The internet is a vast source of knowledge. You could find all about aquaculture and fish farming from websites on the internet. Consider signing up for classes visit webinars and such, if you can, to gather more information about the business. Every business has its own challenge, and you should do whatever it takes to gain firsthand knowledge about the business. Taking a part time job at a local fishery might also give you hands-on experience.


How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed


3. Your market analysis

.   Who are your buyers?
 
• What are their needs?
• What are the things they crave for?
• What’s your market demand?
• What are the things that keep them awake at night?
 
It is your duty to identify and answer these questions. You need this information to make it BIG! If you can provide solution to them, you won’t have any problem. You must tailor your production to meet your market requirements.



4. Land size intended for use

Before going into the catfish farming business, you need to acquire or lease at least a full or half plot of land in a good location. The land should also be accessible by road. This is important as you would want your potential customers to experience difficulty while trying to locate your farm to buy your produce.
 
As soon as the land is available, you can start allocating for each task. There should also be a decent space for the farmhouse ponds, and a good location for drainage facility.

 

 5. Where the fish farm will be located

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 wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.
 
However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.


How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed


6. Pond planning, type, design, size, and construction

I compared water with oxygen in my above analogy. Here, I’m talking about housing your fish.
Just like you, they need a comfortable place to live.
The more natural and comfortable their pond is, the better for them.
There are two popular fish housing system… backyard plastic tank or pond.
Plastic tank may be good for you if you`re just starting fish farming in Nigeria.
This small-scale medium will help you to be familiar with the nature of the fishery business before you`ll extend your market reach.
Fishpond sizes are also different.
Fishponds are of various sizes and their cost varies, depending on your environment and need.
What should you do?
Move out. Visit fish farms around you. Visit fish feeds seller. Visit some experienced break-layers. Ask questions. Ask questions. Ask questions.
The reason why I advise you to go out this way is that these people will give you the best advice that can be useful to you in that environment since they are in your vicinity.
No matter how much advice I give you here or you read on the internet can be as accurate as that of someone who is living and having fish farm right in your neighborhood.
I`m sure you understand this.’
After we have provided oxygen and house for our dear fish, what next?
 
 
• Pond preparation for stocking
 
The procedure below should be followed by the farmer to the latter when preparing the pond for stocking. These steps will help boost the productivity of the pond.
 
1. For an old pond, drain all water and allow it to dry for 14 days.
 
2. Apply lime to the pond bottom and dyke slopes. Choose agricultural limestone (CaCO3) for application in your fishpond
 
3. Apply organic fertiliser into the pond before filling it with water. The most common examples of organic fertilisers are animal manures (from cattle, poultry, donkeys, rabbits, sheep and goats) and decaying plant matter, such as cut grasses.
 
4. Fill the pond with water.
 
5. Apply inorganic fertiliser in the pond after it has been filled. Apply DAP and UREA to your fishpond at the following rates: wwDAP: 2 g/m2/week (or weekly applications of 15 tablespoons DAP for every 100 m2) wwUREA: 3 g/m2/week (or weekly applications of 30 tablespoons urea for every 100 m2).
 

 

7. Cost and source of water

The source of water supply to the fish ponds is important to proper development and maturity of your fish farm for commercial use. It’s important to have a proper borehole system built in the vicinity to ensure a reliable source of water supply. This gets even more crucial with the fact that the water would have to be changed on a regular interval, and a lack therein, of proper adequate water supply to ensure the survival of these fishes, would lead to a considerable loss in investments.
 
You must know that rainwater and chemically treated water are totally out of the fish farming process. They’re unsafe for the fishes, and cannot be recommended for standard use.
Get a steady flow of fresh water, so your pond can thrive.


How To Do Fish Farming And Succeed


8. Fish feed, medication and supplements

There are various feeds that can be offered to the fish in the pond. Some commonly available feeds include:
 
— Meals
— Crumble
— Dry sinking pellets
— Moist sinking pellets
— Floating pellets
 
The feeds can be formulated so as to meet the body requirements of the fish species. This can be done as follows:
 
1. Cotton seed cake— 37%
2. Wheat bran— 57%
3. Fresh shrimp— 6%
 
1. Vitamin premix
Feed ingredients can be hand ground or a manual grinder can be used. It’s important to adhere to the four fixes (4Fs) when feeding fish. These are:
 
• Fixed feed quality.
• Fixed feed quantity.
• Fixed feeding location.
• Fixed feeding time.
 
There are three means of food for your fish.
 
• Natural food. This is found naturally in the pond. This include; detritus, bacteria, plankton, worms, insects, snails, aquatic plants and fish (yes, fish eat fish if they`re hungry).
 
• Supplementary feed. This usually includes cheap materials locally available such as terrestrial plants, kitchen wastes or agricultural by-products. Supplementary feed may be good, but they are not for serious fish farmer (except if he includes the other types of feeds). Many people who are into fish farming in Nigeria are using supplementary feeds, some to their profit, others to their loss.
 
• Complete feed. This is a carefully made fish feed. They`re usually of good ingredient and nutrients, made by the experts who understand the perfect formula for the fish at a different stage.
 
The fish should be fed between 10 am and 4 pm when the water temperatures and dissolved oxygen content are reasonably high and the fish are active.
 


9. Storage system

Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result in disaster because water needs to be changed on a regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rainwater and tap water from the chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.



10. The viability of fish farming business in your location

Since business is about watching the market trend and taking advantages, it will be good to understand the commercial trend of this agribusiness (business of agriculture)
The world at large is becoming aware of the nutritional value of fish.
When you notice the sensitization about how fish is the good source of omega_3, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2 (even though laymen may not know what all that means, they trust their medical practitioners and then eat more fish)
More and more people are abandoning red meat (because we`re told it`s bad) and embracing fish.
This is the reason why the world aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms) remains a fast growing sector, yielding nearly 60 million metric tons (MT) with the estimated value of $119.4 billion (in 2010).
How can this figure make meaning to the Nigerian fish farmers?
We follow the world and we are big.
What I mean by that is this.
If you notice a definite change in the United States, United Kingdom or any other respected country in the world, be sure Nigerians are following.
The other side of it is, we are very big… the 10th or 9th biggest country in the world.
Just as you may know, the population of any given place determines the level of the business opportunity there.
That is the reason why fish farming business could be a very profitable business in Nigeria if you approach it as business.
I know some people will be expecting me to write the exact profit they can make in this business.
You can see some writers who are trying to do that but I won`t.
The reason is that profitability in business is subjective to many factors, your location, selling price in your market, the competition in your market, season of the year, your business skills etc.
Just as the cost of starting fish farming in Nigeria is different from place to place, so does the profit a fish farmer can be different.
I am sure you understand this!
 


11. Knowledge and preparation for risks

There are certain challenges commercial fish farming entrepreneurs face worldwide and these challenges are also peculiar to all branches of fish farming like Tilapia fish farming, Catfish farming, etc. So regardless of whether you are in Ghana, India, Pakistan, Canada, USA, South Africa, etc; you will surely find this information useful.
 
• Fish farming is capital intensive.
• It is labor or management intensive
• Cannibalism and high mortality rate of fingerlings
• Pest and predators
• Lack of market orientation
 
There is a ready market for fish both locally and internationally but most fish farmers have the habit of looking for customers to purchase their fish when the fish are matured for sale. Now, this poor orientation and lateness in scouting for customers make the marketing of fish too poor.
 
As the fishes keep on feeding, the pond gets to its maximum loading point and the fish will stop growing. The more the fishes stay in the pond after they have stopped growing, the lesser the profit margin. So it is advisable for fish farmers to always begin scouting for customers as early as possible before the fishes mature for sale so that it will be easier for them to market the fishes without incurring any extra cost or loss.

 


Benefits of Fish Farming Business (Aquaculture)

1). An Explosive Market of Demand and Supply:

 
Fish farming allows for large supplies of fish to be farmed according to demand. Catching fish from the wild may not yield enough product to meet consumer demand and simultaneously keep the natural ecosystem in balance. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that by 2030, about 40 million tons of seafood will be necessary to keep up with demand. The ocean’s ability to produce enough fish has diminished over the years, leaving aquaculture as the only method to keep up with this increasing demand.
 

2). Low Operating Cost:

 
The cost of starting up and running an aquaculture farm is low, compared to many other agricultural business ideas. In direct comparison to poultry farming, fish farming has a lower operational budget because of its cheaper fish feed and running costs.
Also, while poultry products are highly susceptible to dangerous diseases (like Bird Flu) which could cost the farm owner a lot of wasted investments if not handled properly, fish farming products have lesser threatening vices.
 
 

3). Government Support:

 
With the governments around Africa currently embarking on a large campaign to motivate the people on the continent to invest in agriculture with attractive capital incentives, it only makes this moment a perfect time to consider fish farming as one of the lucrative agriculture business ideas to venture into.
 
 

4). Great Source of Protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acid:

 
Many farm-raised fish are more nutritious than their wild brethren. On farms, fish are often fed a variety of protein- and nutrient-rich foods and pellets that make them far healthier than wild fish, which may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals or pesticides.
Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to the human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since bodies don’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is what we eat.
 


Final Thoughts

In line with the above process of starting and operating a fish farming business, these feasibility studies should also be observed. They include:
 
Step 1:
 
With $500 to $750 (100,000 to 150,000 Naira), you can set up a 10ft X 10ft earth fish pond with a mild depth of about 4ft to 6ft. This constructed dimension would be able to hold about 1,000 grown fishes. You can also construct a concrete pond, use a plastic tank, or a drum pond.
 
 
Step 2: 
 
Before you start stocking your fishes, you need to disinfect your pond with an anti-fungi and an anti-bacterial. You should also balance your fish pond’s organic and ion concentration by fertilization with banana leaves or poultry dungs.
 
 
Step 3:
 
You need to purchase fingerlings and juveniles for your fish pond. Fingerlings usually don’t cost above 20 Naira per each, and Juveniles usually don’t cost above 40 Naira per each. An economic recession and other vices can fluctuate the prices of these fingerlings.
 
 
Step 4:
 
As your fishes grow, you need to constantly sort them to avoid larger fishes feeding on the smaller ones. This is best done by putting fishes of the same size inside a pond together to reduce their cannibalistic instincts. This doesn’t just ensure a bulk survival but also ensures adequate growth and development because, they can equally compete for food, water, and space.
 
 
Step 5:
 
Change the pond’s water on a regular basis to improve the fishes longevity, and reduce the chances of diseases springing up on your fish farm. Clean water should be used to replace the existing water every 2 to 3 days. Without proper water management, most of your fishes wouldn’t alive to maturity.
 
Fish farming is a very profitable enterprise if done with good management. In the course of orientation on how to do fish farming, farmers should develop passion towards this less exploited agricultural opportunities.

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