Fish Farm: What Makes a Successful?
a Fish farm is hard work, there are many factors to take into account. Leslie Ter Morshuizen has done the research and wrote this article on the subject.
Aquaculture Innovations celebrated their 21st birthday end of last year. In celebration of 21 years in the Aquaculture Industry in Africa, I would like to consider some of the factors that I believe contribute to making a fish farming business successful. We have discussed several of these points previously, but I believe there is justification in visiting them again.
1. Who is the fish farm Jockey?
The person driving the operation is the greatest single factor determining the level of success the business is likely to achieve. You want a jockey who is detail orientated, focused on the bottom line in all decisions, possesses boundless energy and who has experience at running a business at an appropriate level. The right jockey will also compensate for shortcomings in the points below.
2. Fish Farm Market
Before investing any money in infrastructure you need to know who will buy the fish once they attain market size. Farming the fish is the easy (and fun) part, selling them is often a lot more difficult. Also consider the form they want the fish in, delivery or collection, market size, packaging considerations and seasonality. Effective market access is probably the greatest reasons fish farms fail in SA, whilst elsewhere in Africa, this is less of a challenge.
3. Infrastructure & technology
The selection of the correct infrastructure for the species and climate is a critical opportunity to rein in production costs and optimise output relative to investment level. Certain market conditions play a role in this decision, especially when traceability is raised as a requirement. The right infrastructure should be supported by using appropriate techniques and technology too.
4. Feed supply
The feed is a lot more than simply something to fill the fish’s stomach. A high-quality feed increases growth rate and survival, reduces wastes and even increases the nutritional value of the fish.
5. Adequate funds
Life happens! With the best plans and intentions, there are still times when additional funds are required that were not budgeted for. Be sure to have a war chest that far exceeds your expected/calculated requirements to avoid being hampered, possibly threatened, by limited cash supplies.
Be sure to only use fish with desirable genetics for your breeders, and ensure that you have a genetic plan to maintain and improve these genes over time.
Fish farming can be a profitable business, but this does not happen by itself, it requires careful planning and adherence to that plan, it requires lateral thinking and creativity, and it requires hard work. At the very basic level, the 6 pointers above are critical to ensure sustained economic success.
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