Fish farming business is a very lucrative business making so many people rich especially in Africa. The popularity of barbecue Fish in Nigeria has made fish consumption to skyrocket. Virtually, every street in Nigeria now have a barbecue spot. Therefore, the demand for fish is outweighing the supply and Hence, the need for more farmers to meet the demand for fish.
Fish farming business is a very lucrative business making so many people rich especially in Africa. In Nigeria, fish consumption is on the high side; current consumption figures of about 1.5 million metric tons. With an annual fish import figure of about 700,000 (FAO, 2000) metric tons, Nigeria remains the highest importer of fish and fishery products in Africa.
This figures is an indicator that fish farming business is a very good business to venture into since consumers still outweigh the number of farmers. The popularity of barbecue Fish in Nigeria has made fish consumption to skyrocket. Virtually, every street in Nigeria now have a barbecue spot. This is a good business for fish farming business.
Also, so many people have discovered that fish contains Omega III fatty acid that reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, arteriosclerosis etc. Fish is thus medically prescribed as preferred animal protein especially to the age bracket 50 years and above. Omega III fatty acid is also responsible for proper development of brain cells in developing fetus. Fish is a welcome diet for pregnant mothers and young children for good health and mental development. It is said to enhance high Intelligent Quotient (IQ) in developing children.
However, lets go down to what you need to know as a beginner in fish rearing;
Steps in building your fish farm
The listed steps below can help you get your farm built from the scratch.
- Market survey
- Site selection
- Choosing and construction of your pond
- Getting the pond ready
- Feeding of your Fish
- Fish disease management and Prevention
Building a fish farm is not as complicated as most people presume. its something you can do on your own if your are dedicated to following these few steps below.
However, if you want a professional advice or need a full business plan on fish farming business, you can Contact us for details.
Do a market survey
Business of any kind is not just what you wake up and venture into without proper investigation and analysis. In our previous post on How to Start a small business, we mentioned the importance of trying to know about your business. In this setting, it could be where to buy good species of fingerlings, how to source your feed at cheaper rate, the cost of starting the business, who your potential customers are and even the technical-know-how of rearing the fish.
These and so many other factors not listed here that you can find out on your own are what will make your business not just a wishful thought but a great success.
This is the first but the most important step to take when starting a fish pond. However, as there is no ideal site for fish farming, you have to compromise. Site selection will depend the following factor:
- Source of water supply
- Soil type
- Land Topography
- The nearness of your site to the market
These factors listed above contributes majorly on the productivity and marketability of your fish products.
It is ideal to have soil type that can retain water to some extent. Also, water supply is a very important tool in fish business since fish does not have any other home but water. Source of clean water supply is a prerequisite for having a good pond.
Choosing and construction of your pond
There are different types of pond you can use for your fish farming. Some of these Pond types are Earthen pond, Concrete pond, Synthetic Leather Ponds, Plastic/Rubber Tanks and Cage Tanks.
The choice of pond to use depends on your capital, your access to water supply and land. Also, it is important to note that pond choosing has different advantages which depends on characteristics of the pond you are choosing and its advantages and disadvantages over others.
Learn more on: Different Pond Types and Construction.
Getting the pond ready
Preparation of old and new ponds is done to create a friendly environment for the well-being and growth of the fish to be stocked. The principles of preparation are basically the same for old and new ponds.
Though, there are minor contingent differences in pond preparation which generally involves lime and fertilizer treatment of the pond bottom (to reduce loss by seepage, improve pond fertility and stimulate plankton production).
Flooding of the pond and maintenance of optimum water depth, checking of pond walls and bottom as well as water inlets and outlets to repair damages, sanitation and disinfection of ponds as well as desiltation are of importance.
Learn more on: Pre-stocking management, Liming and pond fertilization.
Stocking of the Pond
Pond stocking normally takes place after pond preparation, liming and fertilization. It is the means of introducing adequate number of selected fish species of proper size into the pond for culture.
It is important to note that selection of good specie of fish is very important when stocking your Pond. There is this specie of fish that my friend once bought, The fish after consuming so much feed was still small and dwarf at 4 months. It was a big waste of resources and discouragement.
Furthermore, the size of fish to be stocked in a particular area of your pond is important. For earthen pond stocking density of 20-30 fish/m2 is recommend. While in concrete tank with adequate water 40-50 fish/m2 can be stocked. However, the stocking density in a re-circulatory system could be up to 100 fish/m2.
The stage of Stocking is as well very important, According to Bamidele, Fish for stocking can be categorized in 4 stages;
- Fingerling (3 to 4 grams)
- Post-fingerling (4 – 6 grams)
- Juvenile (6 – 10 grams)
- Post-juvenile (10 grams and above)
In his article, you will see the reason why stocking small fishes is not good for you.
Feeding of your fish
If you want to grow your fish very fast to reach the table size easily; the choice of feed and the frequency of feeding is very important. It is important to feed your fish with balanced nutritional feed requirements for proper growth and development.
Many amateurs thinks that overfeeding their fish will make them get quicker results – This is a very wrong impression. Overfeeding can have a negative effect on your pond such as fouling or pollution of your pond from left over feed.
Therefore, it is very important to know how to calculate the feed that will be enough at each time for your fishes.
Learn more on: Catfish feeds, Methods, Rationing and Frequency of Feeding.
Fish disease management and Prevention
One important factor that can cause a disaster in your fish farm is disease outbreak and poor management. This can actually can have a negative influence on the income you can generate from your farm.
It is therefore important to apply good managerial procedures to make sure you create a good environment that will support healthy thriving of the fishes. Some of the precautions to take to avoid disease outbreak includes;
- Effective removal of pollutants and fish waste.
- Good water quality management.
- Being observant to notice morphological or Physiological changes on the fish.
- Knowing the right drug to use in some disease management.
Learn more on: Fish Diseases and Medicine For Treatment
Harvesting of your fish will depend partly on the type of pond you are using and your choice of harvest. You may choose to drain the water completely or with the pond still filled. If you have a drainable pond, it is easier to harvest by draining the water completely especially when you want to harvest all. However, in pools that cannot be drained, use of other means of harvest such as fishing gear and chemicals is encouraged.
Time of harvest is also very important. it is ideal to start harvesting your fish early in the morning or late in the evening. It is not good to harvest fishes during sunny days.
To harvest live fishes, it is important to reduce stress on the fish such as draining the water completely and immediately, walking in out of the pool as you like, harvesting at odd hours etc.
It is also good to wash and transfer the harvested fishes to a clean water after harvest.
The aim of every business is to make profit. Your fish farming business will never end well if you lack good marketing skills. To have wonderful fishes that can weigh several kilos is not enough. You must reach out to people before your fish matures and tell them about your stock and when it will be ready.
Targets for your markets should be Restaurants, Bars, Hostels and market women who deal on on fish.
You should also consider learning of how to produce smoked or dried fishes from your pond. It will help you to preserve your fish for long in case you are unable to sell off immediately.
Learn also: How To Start Smoked Fish Business in Nigeria