Sustainable Fish Farming (Homestead Aquaculture)
Sustainable aquaculture fish farming, as in agriculture, is the technique of fish farming which is growing very rapidly notably in the developing countries and is the only way out for the sustenance of a fish diet, an essential animal product that has slowly been depleted from its natural source for many years.
Today sustainable aquaculture commonly referred to as fish farming is responsible for the ever-increasing share of the global aquatic food production.
The advantages of sustainable fish farming can never be over-emphasised. Asides the fact that fish is a great source of high-quality animal protein, due to the urgent need to increase the production of this essential food, sustainable aquaculture became an urgent matter that required an urgent attention.
Basically, fish farming which is the breeding and culture of fish ranges from homestead farming, which is really fish farming in one's backyard literarily, to large-scale industrial aquaculture enterprises.
There are three main systems or techniques employed for sustainable aquaculture fish:
3 Types of Sustainable Fish Ponds
- Homestead aquaculture fish farming techniques or extensive fish farming. Here the labour input is usually low, and a couple of people can set this up and manage it efficiently with a low economic input. To increase fertility, fertilizers may be used, but system’s productivity is relatively low.
- Semi-intensive fish farming techniques, and as its name describes, it requires a moderate level of labour and economic inputs. With semi-intensive sustainable aquaculture system, fish production is increased by using fertilizer and some form of supplementary feeding. This results in a fairly higher fish yield during fish harvesting.
- Intensive aquaculture fish farming technique requires a great amount of fish stock, the baby fish called fingerlings. This system of fish farming needs a high level of labour input and costs. Fish are fed supplementary feed with fertilizers being mainly used, as natural fish food production plays a minor role.
Sustainable aquaculture ponds required for fish farming range in size from a few square metres to several hectares.
There are the smaller sized ponds used for hatchlings, spawning, or fingerlings (baby fish) production.
For the growing period, the fish are transferred to larger sized ponds, where they are fed and left to grow, until harvest time. However, ponds that are excessively large will become difficult to manage and this is unpopular with most sustainable aquaculture fish farmers.
The kind of aquaculture fish pond a farmer builds will depend on land availability, local resources, equipment and climatic conditions.
The greatest sustainable aquaculture ponds are usually located on land with a gentle slope and are mainly rectangular or square shaped.
Constructing a Fish Pond
To construct a homestead fish farm, its size and shape will depend on the size of the land that is available.
Square and rectangular shaped sustainable aquaculture fish ponds are the quickest and easiest to build, but your pond can have a different shape, as I said, depending on the shape of your land.
An average area of 200 m² is a good size for a family pond. This size can be built without the use of machinery. Sustainable aquaculture ponds can be much larger than this, but for family use, it is better to have several small ponds rather than one large one, so you can harvest your fish continuously.
The water depth is usually an average of 30cm at the shallow end and 150cm at the deepest end although this may vary slightly.
9 Building Steps of Fish Farms
1. Site preparation, by removing trees, bushes, rocks, or grass in the area where the pond is to be built. Then remove the top layer of soil containing roots and leaves.
2. Build a clay core which is the foundation for the pond dike, and makes it strong, preventing water leaks. If you are building an excavated pond, you don’t need to have a clay core.
3. Dig the pond and build the dikes
4. Build the inlet and outlet
5. Protect the pond dikes
6. Fertilize the pond
7. Fence the pond
8. Fill the pond with water
9. Stock the fish
Advantages Of Sustainable Fish Farming
- Sustainable fish farming can be easily integrated into an existing small farming structure. This is a good way to create an extra income and at the same time improve the water management of the farm.
- Fish provides a high quality and high demand animal protein always required and recommended for healthy human consumption. So in the event that fish supplies dwindle in the seas and rivers as they have today due to water pollution and other man-made blunders, sustainable aquaculture fish farming is the way left to ensure the sustenance of a healthy fish diets especially in the developing countries with the scarcity of food issues.
- With sustainable aquaculture, there is the advantage of control and choice of fish to breed. Harvest can be done at will, the farm is close at hand and secure as long as the fish stay healthy and are well fed. The stock is the fish farmers personal property.
- There is an advantage of effectively using 'barren' land that is unfit or too expensive to drain for any food agriculture, and as long as this abandoned land is suitably prepared for sustainable aquaculture, it will turn out to be a profitable venture after all. This is purely using available land effectively.
Aquaculture and Agency Concerns
Worldwide groups and agencies call for better ways of managing fish farms. They want enforcements of laid down regulations to protect the consumers. They are asking for more intense research on sustainable aquaculture practices and the sharing of information on sound fish farming policies.
Worldwide, regional, including local agencies and those concerned with the welfare of animals, are all involved in this laudable effort, as are the environmentalists and food resource managers.
Responsible sustainable aquaculture is achievable it will become an increasingly important part carefully maintaining the earth’s water resources.
© 2009 viryabo