Commercial catfish farming is a highly profitable business. However, the business demands technical skills, properly managed water bodies, and good planning. Here in this article, we are going to explore how to start a commercially successful small-scale catfish farming business.
As a matter of fact, you can find several catfish species throughout the world. Some of the species are large and some of them are small. It is without saying, the taste of catfish is delicious. Additionally, it is a healthy protein food also.
Nowadays, the number of catfish in natural water resources is reducing due to different reasons. The list includes a lack of natural living places and fishing aplenty. Therefore, the requirement of growing catfish is there. As fish is a very popular food item, the market demand for good quality catfishes is increasing globally.
Definitely, a large-scale catfish farm fetches more profit than a small-scale farm. However, it demands large water bodies and huge investments too. But if you love aquaculture and have a small investment capacity, you can start a catfish farming business for earning profits.
Here are the 6 Steps to Start Catfish Farming Business
1. Understand the Local Catfish Demand
First of all, you have to identify the local market demand for specific catfishes. Additionally, try to identify the volume of the demand.
2. Learn Farming of Catfish
Some practical knowledge and skills are necessary for starting this business. If you are an absolute beginner in this business, you must get involved in the training program for growing catfishes.
Here are some of the steps to follow in catfish farming:
a) Preparing The Pond
You can grow catfishes both in the old and new ponds. However, an old pond is always the first choice. If you are constructing a new pond, then apply fertilizers such as dung, lime, etc. Another important aspect is the shape of the pond.
Pond shape is largely determined by the topography and by property lines. The usual shape is rectangular because of greater ease and economics in harvesting and feeding. However, square ponds are cheaper to build.
Prepare the soil of your pond carefully. You must have fertile soil inside the pond. In the case of cultivating in the old pond, dry the pond perfectly before stocking catfish. Remove excessive clay and harmful gas before stocking. After that apply lime and other fertilizers.
Cover a certain area with a pond where you will stock the minnow for the first time. Covering the place with a net will prevent the fish from some harmful predators such as frogs and snakes. Snakes harm a lot more than frogs.
Fill the pond with freshwater (2 – 3 feet water depth for the first time), after making the fence. Stock minnow after 2 to 3 days of filling the pond.
b) Procure Catfish Minnows
After preparing the pond properly, you have to stock the catfishes. It is important to procure disease-free stocks from a reliable hatchery. Procure 2 to 3-inch size minnow from the hatchery. Don’t procure too small fingerlings. Because it is tougher to handle the small fingerlings than juvenile fishes.
Slowly put the container into the pond. Let the natural pond water mix a bit with the water you brought the fishes in for a while before finally releasing them into the pond.
Ensure that the stocks don’t suddenly get introduced to the water. Apply for the anti-fungus medicines in the pond, after 2 or 3 days of stocking minnow. This will help to keep the minnow free from all types of diseases. Additionally, maintain proper stocking density. Also, you can cultivate catfish with other fish species such as tilapia fish, pangas, etc.
c) Catfish Feed Management
Providing the right feed is very important. You must supply feed twice a day for fishes under two months old. You can limit their feeding to once a day once they are grown up. Skip feeding will not enhance consistency in the growth of your catfishes. Also, you can combine floating feed and locally pelletized feed to raise your fish to the table size.
Regardless you are using formulated or self-made feed, you must maintain the basic nutritional requirement of your fish. Finally, you must maintain a pollution-free water environment inside your pond. basically, water management is one of the core aspects of catfish farming.
d) Disease Control
Prevention is better than cure. And you can control the mortality in catfish to the barest minimum if you maintain the major two conditions. These are good water quality and healthy feed. Therefore, never stock your pond without adequate pond preparation.
Ensure that good quality water is entering the pond. Proper monitoring of feed consumed by your stock of fish is very important. Certain feed and feed ingredients can induce mortality if some toxic substances are found in them. Additionally, you can apply routine medication to prevent mortality.
e) Harvesting of Catfish
Drain the pond level to concentrate the catfish. However, if you plan to harvest catfish of only a certain minimum size do not drain down the level of the ponds.
Choose the right catfish seine. harvest the catfishes when the water temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Basically, early morning is the best time for catfish harvesting. Finally, have an adequate arrangement for transporting the catfishes to the market.
c) Choose the Right Species
As per the demand, you have to choose the right catfish species. Also, check the availability of the right feed for your catfish farm. You can mix the ingredients and prepare the feed at your farm.
3. Create a Business Plan
Craft a catfish farming business plan according to your investment capacity and desired production amount.
Basically, financial planning is the most important part. Prepare the calculation with the equipment cost, labor charge, and other farm inputs.
4. Find the Right Location
It is essential to arrange the water bodies for farming catfish. If you already have a pond is fine, otherwise, you can purchase or get a pond on the lease. Also, select a location that is not too far from the nearby locality. Else, the transportation costs will eat a substantial portion of your profit.
5. Get Required Licenses
It is important to register your catfish farm to run a hassle-free and legally compliant company. Also, check the licensing and permission issues in your locality. Additionally, check if your product is a taxable item or not.
6. Have a Marketing Plan
Have a clear marketing plan also. If you want to grow the fish on a large-scale basis, you can contact the processing units and export houses. If you want to grow with a small quantity, then you must tap the local end-users.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the yield of catfish for 1 acre of pond?
The yield of catfish will largely depend on the proper caring and management of the pond and feeds. On a rough estimate, one can expect 3-4 tons of catfish from a pond of one acre within a year of farming.
Is Catfish Farming Profitable?
Yes, at present catfish is one of the most profitable fish farming businesses across the world. Additionally, the cost and investment of starting and running a catfish farm are much low.
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