FISH FARMING

Fish farming (culture) is the act of rearing selected species of fish under scientifically controlled condition in enclosed bodies of water such as ponds, streams, rivers etc where they feed, grow, breed and are harvested for consumption or for sale.



FISH AS AN EFFlClENT CONVERTER OF PLANKTON INTO FLESH

Herbivorous fish and shrimp may feed on microscopic plants the smaller algae, or 'phytoplankton’ or on larger (macroscopic) plants in the pond. Animals which consume plants are the most efficient users of energy which ultimately arises from the sun. The more intermediate organisms there are between .the energy fixation of plants into food and the Final consuming animal, the more opportunities for energy loss there are.

Detritus feeders are also very efficient because they feed mainly on dead organic matter (and any associated live organisms) at the bottom of the pond. Much of their food consists of the fungi and bacteria concerned in the breakdown of dead plant and animal matter. The pond detritus may originate from within the pond or from outside (dead leaves from werhanging trees etc). Carnivorous fish and shrimp feed on other, usually smaller animals. Those which eat the microscopic animals present in the Water (the 200plankton) are usually classed as plankton eaters and included in the detritus eaters or omnivores. The larger animals consumed by carnivores include insects and their larvae, frogs, snails, mollusks, and other fish and crustaceans. Fish which feed on other fish are sometimes referred to as piscivores. Within a pond there is a whole series of animals eating other animals, which eat other animals, etc., all down what is known as the food chain until those that eat plants directly are reached. The higher in this food chain that the preferred food for a particular species of fish or shrimp appears, the less efficient that species is as a converter of natural energy into flesh. Piscivores, such as trout, feeding on natural food are one of the least efficient fish in this sense.

FISH STOCK MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION

In order to get very good returns from the fish farming venture some measures must be put in place to maintain or conserve the fishes in the fish pond. The following conservation practices must be undertaker.

Deweeding: This is the removal of weeds from the pond. it allows the dissolution of oxygen in water, the penetration of sunlight to the bottom of the pond which promote the growth of fish for food.

Regular feeding: Supplementary feed in the form of compound feed should be given in sufficient quantity to ensure rapid growth and fast maturity of fish.

Desilting: This is the removal of silt or prevention of silt from entering into the pond. it makes the water clean and promote easy movement of fish.

Aeration: Aeration promotes the dissolution of oxygen into the water for respiration by the fish. Weeds, excessive organic manure. overstocking etc that prevents proper aeranon of the pond should be removed.


Control of predators: Predators like birds and snakes should be prevented from entry into the pond because they may eat up the fish in the pond. This can be done by constantly keeping the pond and its surroundings clean through weeding. Burrowing animals like crab and rats should be removed regularly.

Regular harvesting: This is necessary to prevent over population, outbreak of disease and cannibalism. Periodic or total harvesting could be done six months after stocking.

Regular Application of Fertilizer: This is done once in a month to promote the growth of fish food (planktons) in the pond.

Water Supply: The pond should always be Elled with water and any leakage repaired.

Checking the pH: Tease or agitate the soil at the bottom of pond and lime it to raise the pH of the water, speed up the decomposition of organic matter and stimulate growth of plankton.

THE NEED FOR FISH FARMING The importance of fish farming can never be over emphasized.

Fish farming serves as a source of food. It provides a means of increasing the availability of protein at a reduced cost. Thus, fish farming provides protein to man and livestock.

It is important that all biodegradable and mm biodegradable substances are recycled to ensure the stability of the ecosystem. Fish farming ensures that animal disposal systems are recycled. Fish can also be processed into other fish-base by-products such as fish meal, fish oils, manure and skin.

Other reasons why fish farming is very important include the following:

1. It provides employment and serves as a source of income to citizenry.


2. Through fish farming. a very efficient and better use of our land and water is ensured. That is non-agricultural land can be used for fish farming.

3. Fish farming is very useful in the area of research work and other educational purposes.

4. Fish farming serves as a means of foreign exchange when large volume of fish and fish products are exported to other countries.

5. Fish farming can serve as a source of recreation. That is fish farming produces fish for baiting, angling and for ornamental purposes like aquarium construction.



It also worthy of note that through fish farming the protein need of man is ensured. That is during the lean season when it is difficult to get a good volume of fish to feed the people, fish from fish farming provides a very good and reliable alternatives that can later be for the nutritional needs of the people. Fish farming therefore helps to curb nutritional diseases that emanate from the absence of fish and fish products in our diets.

Fish farming is also very essential because certain species of fish that cannot do well in their natural marine environment can be easily catered for in ponds and controlled.



ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FISH FARMING

Advantages of fish farming.
The following are some of the merits of fish farming:

1. Fish and fish products provides a very good or rich source of protein and fat devoid of cholesterol as compare to the protein or fat and oil derived from livestock’s. it also provides a very cheap source of good protein source relative to protein from livestock.

2. Fish farming especially in fresh water bodies (streams, rivers, ponds etc.) is a safer menus of producing fish for consumption compared to marine fishing where pollution is on the increase and is difficult to control.

3. Fish ponds can be conveniently be established in neglected nonagricultural land and in swampy areas.

4. Certain species of fishes that are rare in the natural fresh water habitat can be conveniently kept and managed in fish ponds under fish farming.



Disadvantages of fish farming.
Although fish farming plays a very important role in the general well being of the people, it has some few demerits. Notably among them include the following:

1. In the course of the construction of fish ponds . dams, etc., the habitat for certain, aquatic and terrestrial organisms are tampered with or destroyed.

2. When ponds constructed for the purpose of breeding fish is not well managed, it is likely to serves as a breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

3. Fish farming is capital intensive and needs personnel with a very good technical know-how to manage it.

4. improper and indiscriminate use of chemicals in fish farming may lead to residual effect on the consumer. That is. certain, harmful chemicals consumed by the fishes can finally be passed on unto the consumer through the food chain.

5. Fish farming degrades some portions of the fertile land since they dugout soil cover the top horizons that is fertile for crop production.

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