Fish Farming

Should You Attempt Fish Farming? Considerations for
Prospective Fish Growers

Fish farming is an ancient practice that can provide many profitable opportunities today. The raising and selling of fish on a commercial basis have vindicated to be economically successful throughout the United States. In Virginia, fish farming is growing in popularity. Increasing recognize that fish is a healthy food, low in calories and cholesterol levels, but rich in protein has increased consumer demand in both restaurants and supermarkets. Consumption of fish products is increasing dramatically and now averages about 14 pounds/person/year in anywhere. Fish are excellent animals to culture. They can change feed into body tissue more efficiently than most farm animals, transforming about 70 percent of their feed into flesh.
Fish also have excellent dress-out qualities, providing an average of 60 percent body weight as a marketable product and a greater proportion of eatable, lean tissue than most livestock. Fish can be intensively cultured in comparatively small amounts of water. In Virginia, they can be farmed at densities near 2,000 pounds/acre with cordial management. Farm-reared fish offer a new alternative agricultural crop that can potentially replace those which are declining in popularity or profitability. Healthy farm-reared fish guaranteed free of diseases, pesticides, and other harmful toxicants, are a more desirable substitute for wild
fish from potentially polluted waters.

More know about fish culture

Fish farming is, like most other types of farming, a risky business that requires special knowledge, skills, and careful considerations. Some of the most important factors to consider in determining whether you should begin a fish farming business are listed below. Answering yes to all or most questions does not ensure success. Similarly, answering no to all or most questions does not guarantee failure. Individuals with little or no experience in fish farming and few resources available can become successful fish farmers, but they should start small and expand slowly, and be willing to invest lots of
time and effort.

Answer Yes or No

1. Do you have sufficient financial resources available?
2. Do you own properly suitable land with a good source of high-quality water?
3. Do you own enough land and water necessary for a profitable hazard?
4. Is there a high demand and sufficient market for your product?
5. Do you have the equipment and machinery necessary?
6. Is expected profit from fish farming greater than other land uses?
7. Can you really devote the money, time, and labor necessary?
8. Do you know the costs involved with the following items:
Capital Costs
Land & buildings
Building ponds/raceways
Trucks & tractors
Plumbing & pipes
Tanks & aerators
Oxygen meters
Nets & boots
Operating Costs
Purchasing eggs/fingerlings
Fish feed
Electricity & fuel
Labor & maintenance
Chemicals & drugs
Taxes & insurance
Telephone & transportation
l. Is there an established market for your fish?
2. Is the market demand sufficient year-round?
3. Do you have an alternative marketing strategy to rely on?
l. Do you have a continuous source of clean, high-quality water?
2. Does your soil have enough clay content to hold water?
3. Is the water temperature optimal for the fish species reared?
4. Do you have place sufficient to build enough ponds or raceways?
5. Do you have favorable and easy pond access for feeding and harvesting?
6. Are the pipes sufficient in size for quick draining & easy filling?
7. Is your residence near enough for forthright observation and security?
l. Have you had your water tested (chemical and bacteriological)?
2. Do you have a reputable source of fingerlings or eggs at affordable prices?
3. Do you have a reputable source of feed at the reasonable cost?
4. Do you have reliable labor available at affordable wages?
5. How long is your growing season (days/year)?
6. What’s your production capacity (pounds/year)?
7. What’s the best fish species for you to grow?
8. Are you conscious of fish reproductive biology and nutritional needs?
l. Are you conscious of the federal and state laws about fish farming?
2. Do you know where to appeal for the necessary permits and licenses?
3. Are you familiar with the personal asset concerns involved?
Risk Assessment:
l. Can your ability to lose your entire fish crop?
2. Can you conduct water quality tests?
3. Is fish disease diagnostic-help easily available?
4. Do you know about off-flavor and its causes?
5. Is pesticide, metal, Professeror oil contamination possible?
6. Can you deal with poachers and vandals?
7. Do you know where to go for information and help?
Authors: Louis A. Helfrich, Fisheries Extension Specialist, and George S. Libey,
AProfessor, Aquaculture; Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences,
Virginia Tech

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