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How To Start A Fish Farming Business – Complete Guide

Do you want to start a fish farming business? Find here a stepwise fish farming business plan guide for beginners along with selected fish farming business ideas.

Fish farming business opportunity demands special knowledge, skills, and day-to-day careful monitoring. Commercial fish farming has proven to be an economically successful business venture around the globe. Fish is a healthy, protein-rich, and tasty food with low cholesterol and calories.

Is the Fish Farming Business Profitable?

Fish farming is a lucrative business for several reasons. Some of them are the following:

  • Fish farming is one of the fastest-growing food production sectors in the world
  • Fish and fish product has huge and increasing demand throughout the globe.
  •  Market demand and price are always high for fish and fish-related products.
  • Fish farming plays an important role in the economy, providing thousands of jobs in operations and ancillary services.
  • Different several types of fast-growing fish species are available. Farming those fast-growing fish species ensures rapid returns on your investment.
  • People with other occupations or jobs can also start this business.
  • Bank loans and funding assistance are also available for the fish farming project.

Here are the 7 Steps to Start Fish Farming Business

1. Choose the Type of Fish for Farming

The first thing you must consider while starting fish farming is the type of fish you are going to produce. Below find the most popular types of fish farming business ideas that are presently fetching good returns.

a) Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia has become the third most important and popular fish after carp and salmon. High protein content, large size, rapid growth (6 to 7 months to grow to harvest size), and palatability; are the major reasons that make tilapia fish farming highly profitable and popular.

b) Shrimp Farming

Commercial shrimp farming has been developed for more than a century in Southeast Asia. Extensive shrimp farming operation is considered the simplest cultural approach. Market demand is very high and can be initiated on a small-scale basis.

c) Ornamental Fish Farming

Ornamental fishes are colorful, fancy, and generally known as aquarium fish. According to industry experts, the ornamental fish trading industry with a turnover of US $ 6 Billion and an annual growth rate of 8 per cent offers a lot of scope for development.

d) Cat Fish Farming

Commercial catfish farming is very profitable.  Aquaculture farmers can initiate catfish farming alone or combined with other species. Catfish farming can be initiated at a comparatively low cost and on a small-scale basis.

e) Crab Farming

Intensive commercial crab farming can be performed in smaller areas and at greater densities, minimizing land and labor, but the environmental impacts of these techniques can be significant. The mud crab (Scylla Serrata) is a promising aquaculture species due to its fast growth and good market acceptability and price.

f) Prawn Farming

The worldwide demand for prawns is increasing highly. A freshwater prawn farm is very similar to a freshwater fish farm. With the help of modern improved technology, one can start prawn farming to meet local and export demand both.

g) Fish Hatchery

A fish hatchery is an artificial place for breeding, hatching, and rearing through the early life stages of animals, finfish, and shellfish. The selection of the right species is important in starting a fish hatchery business.  Some species that are commonly raised in hatcheries include Pacific oysters, shrimp, Indian prawns, Carp fishes, salmon, tilapia, and scallops.

h) Carp Fish Farming 

Carp fishes are omnivorous, with a high tendency towards the consumption of animal food, such as water insects, larvae of insects, worms, mollusks, and zooplankton. These food habits play a major role in the profitability of carp farming.

i) Salmon Fish Farming

Salmon farming is the commercial production of salmon from egg to market in a net-cage, pond, or container system. This type of fish is a carnivore. On average it takes two to five kilograms of wild fish (used in feed) to produce one kilogram of farmed salmon.

j) Indoor Fish Farming

An entrepreneur can initiate indoor fish-related farming from the home location with moderate capital investment. You can also integrate an aquaponic system to grow plants with your indoor fish containers and raise fish, vegetables, and herbs at the same time.

In starting a profitable fish farming business you will need to have reasonable financial resources with land and good quality water bodies. You will need to have enough knowledge about the farming process. You will need to procure the necessary equipment and machinery for the business also.

Choosing the right species of fish plays a major role in getting success in the fish farming business. The decision should be based on market demand, maintenance point of view, availability of resources, etc.

2. Understand the Market

Feasibility analysis and business planning are a must before starting a fish farming business. Do intensive market research before getting into fish farming. Understand the local market demand. If you are going to start fish farming for export, then talk to fish processing units prior. Prepare an alternative marketing strategy to rely on.

3. Learn the Skills of Fish Farming

Having skills is important in starting a fish farming business. You can get training from government-run farms that conduct training.

Working at a successful fish farm will also teach you how to perform water quality management, disease control, feeding, marketing, and processing skills.

  • Ensure that you have a continuous source of quality water.
  • Check whether your water temperature is optimal for the fish species reared or not.
  • Ensure easy access to the pond for feeding and harvesting.
  • Test the water in which you are starting fish farming both chemical and bacteriological.
  • Learn about the modern technical method of risk assessment and as well as risk management.
  • Finding reliable suppliers for fish eggs, fingerlings, and fish feed is very crucial in the fish farming business.
  • Figure out the legal compliance and permission needed to start a fish farming business in your locality.

4. Create a Fish Farming Business Plan

If you are looking forward to establishing a profitable fish, creating a business plan document is important. A business plan essentially is a business document that works as a roadmap for future operational activities of the company.

Additionally, it is the single most important tool to arrange funds from investors. Some of the basic issues that your fish farming business plan must address are the following:

  • Startup and recurring costs to run a fish farm.
  • Your target customers.
  • Pricing plan.
  • Profit margins.
  • How and where do you plan to sell fish.

5. Calculate the Cost of Starting a Fish Farming Business

Two types of capital investment are broadly included in this farming business. One is the fixed capital cost and the other one is the operating cost. Capital cost includes land & building, crafting ponds, vehicles for transport, plumbing arrangements, several tanks, oxygen meters, etc.

Operating costs include purchasing eggs or fingerlings, fish feed, electricity, fuel, labor, chemical, medicine, tax, insurance, telephone, transportation, and other maintenance cost involved.

Before getting into the business, carefully prepare a detailed cost calculation of your proposed fish-related farming project. Calculations will be different as per the types of fish you are choosing for fish farming. And also according to your desired output and total land area.

6. Choose the Right Location

The most critical factor in fash farming is having a continuous flow of water. If you are planning to start in a village area, locating a pond with a good water source is a must. On the other hand, you must have access to the municipality water source, if the location is in the city or town area.

7. What equipment is Needed for Fish Farming?

Another important aspect is the procurement of certain types of equipment. Some of the basic tools and equipment needed in fish farming are the following:

  • Pumps
  • Aeration devices
  • Nets/ Seine Reels
  • Handling and Grading Equipment
  • Graders
  • Fish counters

Fish is one of the main components of animal protein in a diet.  There is increasing popularity of having fish as food worldwide boosting has boosted the fish farming business globally.