The Fish Business 2

Fish business one, we discussed on the meaning of fish farming, the importance of fish farming, how to farm fish, the true meaning of fish farm can only be fully understood when any individual fully go into the practice of fish farming. Fish is an important part of the household diet in Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa. Fish accounts for around 40 percent of the country’s protein intake, with fish consumption at 13.3 kg/person/per year. The most farmed fish species in Nigeria are catfish and tilapia, even though Nigeria has an environment that supports the farming of other tropical species of fish.

 Total fish production per year is close to 1 million metric tons (313,231 metric tons from aquaculture and 759,828 metric tons from fisheries). The majority of this fish is consumed domestically, while around 10 percent is exported. Around 94 million hectares are used for fishery production, and 1,477,651 people work as fishers. It said the total annual fish demand in Nigeria is estimated at 3.4 million metric tons. While about 40 per cent of this demand is met domestically, over N125 billion ($625 million) is spent annually on fish importation (FAO, 2014).

The fish business is one of the most profitable ventures in the agricultural sector, a lot of farmers have come into the fish production sector and they have left due to many reasons, while some cant navigate the production aspect of the fish production sector, some fell a victim of bad fish input, some did not have the right technical know-how, and some were cheated by the retailers. This write up would be addressing the beginning of fish production. How do I manage my pond for effective fish production? How do I pick the best pond for fish production? How do I pick the right feeds for my fish? Can local feeds sustain my fishes till they grow? Here, we would discuss and give answers to this following questions:

Selection of pond and Pond Management: Fish ponds is an artificial home to raise fish. Ponds can be of different sizes, shapes and kinds. Nevertheless, there are implications if not well managed, management of fish farming start from the stocking of the pond to the day the fish is harvested and even ready for another batch of restocking. There are different kinds of pond, each of this pond have advantage and disadvantage. This write up will only address three types of pond which are very popular in Nigeria. The management system of this pond will also be explained for easy establishment for farmers that would be picking this type of ponds.   

  • Earthen Ponds: This system is the oldest form of fish management system in Nigeria. The system involves the development of ponds in land that are closer to a water operating system for example a gentle flowing stream or spring or the excavation. Stocking density is between 20 and 30 juveniles per square meter but many times it is better to stock the pond according to how big or small the pond is and as they grow sorting operation can come up. This type of pond is a natural type of pond, using this pond for subsistence fish farming makes feed expenses lower because the pond provides and contains natural preys that the fishes can feed on, this pond many times can also be used for commercial fish production. Many fish farmers use this type of fish pond because of the cheap construction costs, this pond does not rely on electricity, many a times less skilled people are required to manage it, risk of disease outbreak is also very low. This pond also has its own disadvantages, demerit like sorting difficulties, increase number of fish predators, Vulnerability to environmental pollution and other environmental hazards.

Earthen ponds needs technical management, it needs liming to make sure the pond is free of any predator and ready for stocking, it needs a net to cover and make sure the fingerlings or juveniles are safe from predator birds and to reduce the amount of dirt that can approach the pond. It is important to lime the pond before introducing the new stock into the pond, it is important to test the soil and know about the soil pH so as to be sure of the acidity and alkalinity. The drainage outlet must be studied with care, water inlet and outlet must be at opposite ends in order to ease water exchange within the pond, good impermeability of the pond as a whole and strength/integrity of the pond’s walls and edges, access to work around the pond which must be accessible to vehicles. Earthen pond owner must maintain a clean environment, it must be fenced against predators, also, practice spot feeding for more Catfish info, sales and consultancy.

  • Tank (Plastic) Pond: This type of pond is used mainly for subsistence fish farming. An accurate measurement of the base is needed by measuring the base of the tank. Once you have the measurement give up to 5 inches all around the base. Align the block work along the perimeter of the measurement and build the base using granite, stones, cement and sand. When the base structure is finished allow it to dry for a week before putting the tank on it.  Then you need to do the piping work which is the inlet and outlet. The tank has a provision for the outlet so the plumber will only needs to attach a pipe and tap. The inlet above the tank can be fitted with a dedicated tap connected to a water source. Rinse the tank thoroughly and retain water for a few days before introducing your fish. It can be maintained the same way the two other ponds can be maintained.
  • Concrete Ponds: This type of pond can be used for intensive fish farming, this type of pond eliminate erosion due to currents caused by mechanical aeration, waves generated by the wind and fish activity. This type of pond is more expensive to build therefore, should be made profitable by a higher production per volume utilized. Conversely, the more firm it is built the more it reduces maintenance and re-building costs that will be necessary after a few years of operation. This type of pond is smaller than earthen ponds. The bottom can also be in concrete or left without plastering. Brick or stone walls must have strong foundations and, if they are built with bricks or blocks, they must be plastered, in order to avoid the effects of erosion. It is important that there is an inlet and outlet for easy passage of water, the water going into the pond must be neat and well treated, this system is practicable where water is readily available in right quality and quantity. This pond also have it advantage and disadvantages which include it easy management, affordable, productive and sustainable practices, in this system water is allowed to flow through the pond to refresh it and instead of passing it back to the ponds it is allowed to run into the drains, the stocking density is between eighty and a hundred fish per square meter, sorting is also very easy with this type of funds. The disadvantages include the high use of water which equally mean high use of electricity, a pond with no other source for water or electricity might have high rate of mortality.

To understand the type of juveniles to stock the pond with, to understand the feeds to use, anticipate the fish business 3, all answers would be provided.

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