We will be discussing the basics of aquaculture in this article, targeted basically for your home based or pond based small commercial farm. Many people are willing to start fish farming from their home, but are not sure how they would start or what they will need to start raising fish from home based farms. There are several factors that will come into play when you start your own fish farm. You will need to make a list of things you’ll need and attain them one by one. You may also need an initial fund and budget to get your supplies and equipments, and to prepare your farm for fish. In addition, you will need to confirm with your local authorities to make sure that all legal aspects are taken care of. Also obtain all necessary documents or permits you’ll need before you start digging your pond.

Continued advances in technology and management practices can expand aquaculture’s potential role in producing a variety of species for both restoration and commercial purposes. It would take the pressure off the current ocean fish stocks, and would also address global issues of food shortages, giving a boost to the local and global economy.

What is aquaculture?

220px-Shrimp_pondThe term aquaculture generally refers to breeding, raising, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of aquatic environment, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Farming of all kinds of aquatic plants and animals, such as freshwater and marine species of shellfish, fish, and plants, can be profitable in aquaculture. A fish farm usually produces food fish, bait, sport fish, ornamental animals and plants, crustacean fish,fish eggs, mollusks, sea vegetables and algae.

Aquaculture also includes raising harvest size seafood from hatchery fish and shellfish, which can be raised in tanks, cages, ponds, or raceways. Some aquaculture practices are used to enhance the wild stock of fish by releasing the hatchery fish into the wild to enhance or rebuild wild fish populations.

We are going to cover Freshwater aquaculture here, which takes place primarily in ponds and in on-land, man made systems such as re-circulating aquaculture systems. It includes production of fish from your home pond or your small fish farm. You could raise several species of fish, from hatchery fish to market size fish, in your own farm. The dominant fresh water aquaculture in the USA is catfish, trout, tilapia, and bass.

Why raise fish?

We mentioned above that by raising fish, we can produce more protein to address global hunger, support the economy, create more jobs, and also utilize our resources more efficiently, maximizing the use of our land and water. If you do not want to sell your fish commercially, raising fish in your backyard pond can certainly help you to feed your family with a fresh supply of delicious and nutritious protein source. It will definitely ease some pressure off of your grocery bills, and become a center of attraction for your home. It will also give you a chance for your family to gather around and come together to enjoy a quality family time while you take care of your fish.

Zapotec_fish_farm_in_Ixtlan_OaxacaFish farming is a profitable business, and with proper marketing of your aquaculture fish farm, you could easily generate a steady flow of income, all year round, without having to put in much input or effort. However, to make your business profitable, you must be able and willing to work hard, put in the time, and be prepared to learn new things as you grow your business.

What do you need to get started?

You will need enough land or space to dig your pond. You will need a steady supply of water, baby fish, and food for your baby fish. You need to decide at what scale you want to start your business. If you have enough property, some money saved, and enough knowledge about the business, you could start at a large scale. If you don’t have enough experience and time to spare, it is recommended that you start small, with a small pond in your backyard, with supplies that you can find at your local home and garden supply store. You will be able to find juvenile hatchery fish from a hatchery nearby you.

If you intend to start a commercial large scale fish farm, you might consider taking some courses in fish farming, or working at a fish farm first, because you want to gather as much experience and knowledge as possible, before you start to work on your own.

“Starting a fish farming business would require intensive study of both the actual technique in fish production as well as the expenses one has to invest for equipment; the fish farming business can prove to be a very profitable venture. “ Nairaland Forum

You will also need to make a feasibility report , which will have the exact figures of how much you will invest, what your expenses and what your return will be from your fish farm. This will help you to attract investors or partners, when you’ll need them. It will also be necessary when you apply for a loan to finance your business. There may also be some legal requirements, which you will want to check with your local authorities about, or Legal Office: Fisheries. For advice on your company formation and legal issues, consult a business attorney first.

How do I begin?

SONY DSCIf you have not done any commercial fish farming before, you will want to start a small scale fish farm, either based from your home, or from a property that you own. If done right, you’ll be able to generate huge profit from your fish farm all year round. Before you begin a commercial fish farm, there are several factors you need to keep in mind. You need to know who your market is, analyze your market, and setup your goals. The production and profits of your farm will depend on what you can sell. Fish farming, just like any other businesses, relies on good decisions, and efficient use of resources.

For a home based business, select a suitable place in your backyard or in your fish farm, and start digging your pond. Make sure you check with your local authorities first, and make sure there are no legal restrictions, or utilities going underneath the spot where you plan to dig your pond. You’ll need to get several pieces of equipment for excavating and securing your pond. If you have a fish culture station near you, they might be able to help you with it. Your local building material stores will also help you in selecting the tools you need. For bigger ponds, you will have to rent some equipment for digging. Once your pound is ready, fill it up with fresh water, and get your juveniles fish and let them grow.

wels-475656_1280We will be giving you more information on what type of fish you can grow in your region, what you need to feed them, what size pond you need, how much you can expect to make and what special care you need to take for your fish in our follow-up blogs. We will also be giving you tips and strategies on marketing so that you can maximize your profit. For now, start gathering more information on how you can dig a pond in your backyard, make it attractive and suitable for your fish, and how you can begin your commercial fish farm, right from your home.

Until then, please stay well, and put a few word s in the comment box below; it would inspire us greatly.

Source: WorldWide Aquaculture