There are so many information on the internet on how to start fish farming especially catfish farming but few are detailed enough to really assist aspiring fish farmer to get started. I will be endeavor to make this article as detailed as possible and hope that other experienced fish farmer will add to it as we try to answer people’s questions through commenting.
One of the most popular farming in Nigeria is fish farming and for good reasons. Gone are the days when the only means of getting fish is by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trial and errors. Today, the modern farm practice has made it possible to grow fish in the farms and control the input.
If you are thinking of business to start now, I recommend you start Catfish Farming. If you are an existing farmer and you are looking for expanding your farm capacity, I’d encourage you add fish farming to your farm. Fish farming (especially catfish) is most compatible with poultry farming as you can use the poultry drops to make the feeds for your fish.
Benefits Of Fish Farming
1. Fishery products is by far the most popular animal products in the market, constituting more than 60% of meatproducts in the Nigerian market alone.
2. Fish is one of the highest source of protein. Fish is a low-fat high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
3. Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.
4. Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming makes it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within short period of time.
5. Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to 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 by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.
6. Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, N3 million investment in fish farming could easily result to N4 million of pure profit within six months.
7. Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can setup fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a specious compound, you can easily setup a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.
Risks And Challenges In Fish Farming
1. 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.
2. Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farming. Setting up fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.
3. 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 are good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.
4. There is no byproduct 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.
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 – Second most popular fish in Nigeria’s aquaculture industry, Tilapia is a fish species that lives in fresh shallow water. Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.
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 specie be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention to Catfish and Tilapia.
What You Need To Get Started In Fish Farming
1. 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 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.
2. Construct 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 requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
3. Dig a Borehole – Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.
4. 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.
5. Juvenile Fish – Get your juvenile from another farm that 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.
6. Get Training – 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.
Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.