Fishes are aquatic creations without limbs; they make use of gills to breathe. Fish have become one of the significant sources of protein in our daily food consumption, and it is classified as white meat, which is very healthy for the human body. Therefore, doctors usually recommend high fish consumption at all times, even more than meat consumption.
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What are the Health Benefits of Fish?
Many people are aware of the nutritional benefits and importance of fish to the human body. Below are some of the health benefits of consuming fish:
- It Lowers Risk of Heart Disease.
- It is a good source of vitamin D.
- It helps to lower cholesterol.
- It reduces the risk of heart disease.
- It reduces the risk of cancer.
- It reduces high blood pressure.
- It lowers the risk of having liver diseases.
As a country that is very close to the Atlantic shores and has large water bodies, Fish is one of the major food producers, and fishing is the occupation of many individuals who live close to these water bodies.
This has made fish consumption to be very high, especially in the southern part of Nigeria. Thus, causing an increase in the price of fish in the market. This high demand requires high production to create a balance. The local fishermen and women are unable to meet high fish demand due to factors such as:
- Low population of fishermen and women.
- High risk of navigating water bodies.
- Lack of good fishing equipment.
In other to meet this high demand, fish farming has become necessary. Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is a part of agriculture where fish are raised commercially in artificial water bodies to be sold as food.
Fish farming has grown to become one of the most booming businesses in the agric sector and more people are venturing into this business as the day passes.
Is Fish Farming a Lucrative Business?
The answer to this question seems very clear considering the high population of people that enjoy eating fish in Nigeria. Moreover, fish farming is one of the most lucrative businesses in the agricultural sector because it is highly consumed in homes and restaurants. Fishes get to mature fast and are sold to individuals who use them for different purposes.
The quick maturity time of a fish makes it easy to raise more fishes quickly, thereby making even more profit. Owners of fish ponds make huge profits monthly from selling fishes of different breeds, and I can tell you that this is a business you will love to go into.
In this article, I will be taking you through the step-by-step guide on how to start a fish farming business in Nigeria. Fish farming can be a tedious and laborious business, but it could open doors to millions for the owner if done properly.
However, serious care has to be taken while raising fish because they are susceptible animals. A little mistake such as failure to change the water can lead to the mass death of fishes in your pond. Here are the steps to follow when starting a fish farming business
1. Write a Business Plan
2. Secure land in a good location
3. Construction of ponds
4. Provision of water source
5. Choose and Purchase a Fish Variety
6. Feeding and raising of fishes
7. Harvesting of Fishes
8. Sales of fishes
Write a Business Plan
Understanding the business you want to venture into is very important for its success. Writing a good business plan before starting your fish pond is very important as this information helps you envisage the challenges you might encounter in the business. Conduct feasibility studies on fish farming in the location you intend to site your fish pond.
Check for nearby fish ponds and make inquiries to understand the challenges that farmers frequently face. Carry out market research to understand the potential market you have at your location and know the demand for fish in these places.
Secure Land in a Good Location
Acquisition of a space is the next thing to consider when starting a fish farm. Purchase, rent, or lease land at your desirable location. The location of your farm should not pose any hazard to the fish.
Some of the factors to consider when securing land for your fish pond are nearness to market, nearness to raw materials (In this case, the fingerlings and feeds), and other factors such as water supply and local topography. The space should also be extensive enough to allow for the future expansion of the farm.
After acquiring land, securing the area is important to prevent invasion of the farm by non-workers. Build a fence or construct a barbed wire around the location. This helps to prevent theft and can also be used to demarcate spaces on the farm.
Construction of Pond
The construction of a fish pond is a very critical stage in establishing a fish farm. In fish farming, artificial ponds are recommended to allow ease of operation and ensure that the fishes are raised in a controllable environment. It is, therefore, necessary to have different ponds which are based on the size the fishes get to. Therefore, fishes have to be sorted into different ponds depending on their sizes.
Provision should also be made for sick and injured fishes. This type of pond made for ill and injured fishes is referred to as a quarantine pond. Fish ponds should be constructed wide enough to accommodate a large number of fish. Water supply cavities should also be made to allow easy inflow and outflow of water from the fish pond. The different types of fish ponds are:
● Plastic Pond: This is the type of pond made from carving a part out of a tank. This pond is flexible and can be moved from one place to another. Most fish pond owners are using it.
● Earthen Pond: This type of fish pond is constructed from soil materials. The type of soil used for the construction of this pond should be considered to avoid the use of materials that might be harmful to the fishes.
● Concrete Pond: This pond is made from blocks and can be used for extensive fish farming. It is constructed above the ground level, and the pond’s interior is made smooth to avoid causing injuries to fishes.
Provision of Water Source
Water is vital in a fish farm. Clean water is needed for fishes to survive, and water has to be drained regularly from the pond as it gets dirty and unclear. Therefore, every pond must have a fresh water supply. This supply can be from natural sources such as rivers or boreholes.
A borehole should be constructed to ensure adequate freshwater supply in the farm. Water pumps should also be purchased to help in pumping water over long distances within the farm.
Choose and Purchase a Fish variety
Different farmers breed a different variety of fishes, and this should be one of the considerations when starting your fish farming business. There are different fishes varieties, including Catfish, Nile tilapia, common carp, rainbow trout, salmon, etc.
The environmental condition determines the type of fish to be bred, and in Nigeria, most farmers opt for the catfish. First, purchase the size of fish you intend to raise. There are different sizes which include fry, fingerlings, post-fingerlings, and juvenile. You can also decide to hatch your fish. Buy healthy and disease-free species to ensure maximum results.
Feeding and Raising of Fishes
Feeding is essential for the growth of fish, and this should be done appropriately to ensure the maximum outcome. Select the right feed for the variety of fish you are raising. Buy nutritious supplementary feeds and also feed your fishes with animal by-products and plant residue.
Fishes should be fed according to their sizes, and sorting should be done to separate big fishes from small fishes. This helps prevent the big fishes from eating and oppressing the small fishes.
The small fishes who have stunted growth will be able to grow well in waters that aren’t dominated by the big fishes. There are two methods of feeding fish which are:
- Broadcast feeding: This is done by spreading the feeds on the water for fishes to eat. The feed is being spread at different points of the feed and the fishes are allowed to go round and eat the feeds by themselves.
- Spot Feeding: This is done by feeding the fish at a particular spot. It helps monitor the feeding rate of each fish and helps to ensure that fishes are fed equally.
Care should be taken to identify sick or injured fishes and remove them from the pond to avoid disease transmission.
Harvesting of Fishes
Fishes are due for harvest in about 2 to 3 months. However, all fishes do not have to be harvested at the same time. Fishes that are up to market size can be harvested from drained water or a filled pond. A harvesting net can also be used to gather the fish.
Sales of Fishes
Fishes should be taken to the local market and sold to smaller fish vendors. Fishes can also be supplied at fast food outlets, restaurants, cafeterias, and bars.
Smoked fish can also be sold to a large number of people who love it. Further processing can also be done to convert it into tin fishes which can be sold in supermarkets. Export of excess fish to a nearby country is also a way to make money from fish farming.
There is a lot of prospect in fish farming, and this sector of business should not be neglected. Fishes can be sold as food or processed into different products made from fish and their by-product. This is a very lucrative business and, if done well, can generate millions and lead to creating jobs and opportunities in the sector.