Fish is a healthy and nutritious source of protein which is popular around the world. Industrial fish farming, or aquaculture, provides almost half the seafood around the world and this is expected to increase with time as more people are embracing fish farming due to its lucrative nature. The Nigeria fish industry has been one of the growing and progressive industry in the agricultural sector, it has feed millions of people and provided jobs for thousands of youth in search of jobs, the fish production sector has not only being a source of healthy living it has also contributed to the gross domestic product of the nation. Aquaculture is regarded as a subsidiary of agriculture and it refers to the act of raising aquatic organisms which include plants and animals. In Nigeria, many people often assume aquaculture is the normal form of fish farming and when aquaculture happens to be the talking point in any conversation, fish farming is what Nigerians tend to discuss. However, in reality, fish farming is only an arm of aquaculture since it focuses solely on the cultivation of fish probably for human consumption and the commercialization of fish by-products in a well-defined value chain.
One of the most lucrative businesses one can venture into is fish farming business. Fish farming is one of the most common types of farming. Fish farming business is the system in which fishes are reared either for sale or for consumption, a good way to venture into the agriculture industry and generate some good income is through fish farming. Fish production has been seen by many fish farmers to be productive while it has been seen by others to be unproductive and stressful, nevertheless the fish business is one of the main productive aspect of farming in the world. Fish is one of the main sources of protein, fish is widely consumed on a large scale. Thus, the demand for fish is stable all year round. Fishes are known to grow rapidly. So, investing monetarily or physically in a fish farming business will result in huge patronage and source of better revenue plus income. It is a known fact that fishes are cheaper when compared to most meat products and hence, sells faster. It is an attractive venture as it remains the top choice for consumers in terms of affordability. The growth pattern of fish is fast they grow within four to nine month. This specific characteristic of fishes ensures that fish farmers can harvest and sell in a short time. Fish farms are easy to set up depending on the type of set up selected by the farmer. It can be set up in residential areas as well as on a large scale due to the developed method of rearing fish over time. Fish farming can be easily practiced alongside any type of farming.
Fish farming may range from backyard family consumption ponds to large scale commercial enterprises. Farming systems can be expressed in terms of specific levels and they are discussed as follows;
Extensive fish farming: Here, inputs such as economic, financial and labour are usually low. The type of feed employed to feed the fish is natural feed like dried maggot. The system’s productivity is relatively low mainly for family and friends consumption. Fertilizers are used to increase fertility and thus fish production.
Semi-Intensive fish farming: here, there is higher labour and feed costs, as well as higher fish yields, compared to the extensive fish farming method. There is many times more technology adopted here and it requires a moderate level of inputs and fish production is increased by the use of some fertilizer.
Intensive fish farming: here, there is a very high level of inputs and stocking the ponds with as many fish as possible mainly for commercial and industrial purpose. The type of fish feed employed here is the supplementary feed, while natural feed plays a minor role, many times as complementary feeds.
The importance of fish farming are as follows;
A good source of income: One of the main problem Nigeria currently have is unemployment, The fish farming has helped many business owners generate revenue and jobs for themselves, as well as employ others and this has helped improve income and increase profit over time.
High demand: There is a very high demand for catfish production in different location in Nigeria, even this days fish are not distributed as souvenirs in parties anymore, the present available number of fish in Nigeria is not enough for everyone and so the little available is being rushed by the needs of everyone
Easy to maintain: Fishes are very easy to maintain than poultry, you feed fishes two times in a day and they don’t make any noise unlike poultry birds, they do not smell like other livestock and they produce lesser waste to the environment.
How to start the fish business
Get a Land: Any location can be good after definite land clearing and legal sorting’s (This can save you a whole lot), fish doesn’t cause extreme environmental disturbance exception for rainy season when there is possibilities of flooding. Look for an area where you can get acres of land very cheap and ask if they would allow fish production there because you might have to dig the land in case you are opting for earthen pond then, buy. Depending on the capacity and ability you wants to operate on, a plot of land is just good enough for a starter fish farmer. However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can manage it effectively. If you already have a compound with any leftover space that you think can accommodate two or three ponds, you go ahead and may use it.
Build Ponds: You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction measurement and requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage. You might be looking at other types of ponds like earthen ponds or tank ponds, all of this needs an expert for advice. if possible get a professional training
Have a source of water: Adequate water supply is the sustenance of a fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on a regular and monitored interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole, stream, lake and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation as the fishes may react negatively to it.
Install Overhead Tank: 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 Juvenile: Get your juvenile from another farm that are reputable for hatching of Fish and specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.