Introduction to Fish farming in Punjab, Biofloc Fish Farming, NABARD Schemes for Fish Farm: Fish farming is the process of raising fish in tanks and ponds for food production. Fish farming is the fastest-growing food farming business segment in the world. It has been established as a lucrative business venture all over the world. As we know that fish is a great food and protein source, hence the demand and price of fish and fish-related products are increasing rapidly by population growth. Fish farming plays the main role in the economic upliftment of the rural masses. Fish farming doesn’t always need a large body of water. Depending on the type of fish farming and the fish species you choose, make good profits in the fish farming business. The following specific objectives for fish farming;
- To find the existing fish production systems
- To develop farm budget models for the evaluation of different production strategies for each of the fish production systems;
- To evaluate the biosecurity practices used and reported to be used on fish farms, and to describe the behavior (knowledge, perceptions, and attitude) of the fish farmers towards biosecurity; and
- To identify the major problems and constraints in fish production, and make policy recommendations to improve the socio-economic conditions of fish farmers.
A guide to fish farming in punjab, biofloc fish farming, species for fish farming in punjab, NABARD schemes for fish farming in Punjab, India
Benefits of fish farming in Punjab: There are many benefits to starting fish farming in Punjab and below are the major benefits.
- When it comes to fish farming, once the fish ponds are excavated and the farm set up, supply seeds and run aerators and water pumps. Many a time, the contractors are migrant laborers who pool in money for nets and transport and divide the profit made from selling the fish. Therefore, fish farming and its trade are supporting small-scale entrepreneurs as well.
- Fish farming allows for large fish supplies. Fish catching from the wild cannot fulfil the consumer’s demand hence it can meet up this demand.
- Some of the farm-raised fish species are more healthy and delicious compared to wild fishes. Fishes are fed a different variety of nutrient and protein-enriched foods on commercial fish farms.
- There are several types of fish species available all over the world. So, select the desired species for the fish farming business.
- Also, we know that fish is popular as food all around the world thus there is already an established fish market available for you.
- Fish are seen as the main seafood source for the next 20 years.
- The business of raising fish is growing at 3 times the rate compared to farming land animals.
- Fish farms can be located in ponds, pools or tanks, or cages in offshore cultivation.
- Fishing is limited by quotas and can take place year-round, with no limits to the number you raise.
- If you don’t have sufficient funds to start a fish farming business, then you can also apply for bank loans.
- By raising small-scale fish farming in tanks or ponds you can fulfil your daily family nutritional demands.
Information about fish farming in Punjab
- In India, Punjab state has the highest fish productivity per unit area. A well-developed fish marketing system mainly depends upon the fish production and the developed fishery sector with a proper setup of the economy.
- Sources in the fishery department revealed that over about 50,000 farmers are engaged in the practice and that the state is planning to engage at least 10,000 more in the coming years.
- Punjab is under fish farming with 6 herbivorous varieties around 32,597 acres that are namely catla, rohu, mrigal, silver carp, grass carp, and common carp ruling the ponds. Punjab has produced the highest freshwater fish yield of about 2,500 kg per hectare of land. Of the total production, 67% came from ponds while the rest were supplied by water resources such as rivers, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, and canals.
- In Punjab, three districts are having a maximum concentration of fish farmers they are Gurdaspur, Bathinda, and Pathankot. A sample of about 100 fish farmers was selected according to their concentration in selected districts by using probability proportional to size sampling method. Cost-return analysis of fish farming on sample fish farms revealed that labor cost, electricity usage, diesel use in the irrigation system, and aeration cost were the major constituents of variable cost. Total variable cost per hectare was maximum on small fish farms, followed by medium and large farms which show the economies of scale.
Different species for fish farming in Punjab
In Punjab, there are several fish species are available. They are Wallago attu, Bramidae, Anabas testudineus, Clarias batrachus, Mystus cavasius, Labeo rohita, Tor mosal, Catla catla, M. bleekeri, Sperata aor, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Lethrinus bohar, Nandus nandus, Pampus Chinensis, Pangasius buchanani, Rita rita, Carassiusauratus, Catla catla, Ctenophoryngodon Idella, Labeo rohita, Solea solea, Sperata seenghala, Tenualosa ilish were found in markets throughout the season.
Singhara and sole fish varieties are found in natural water, and some fish species like the grass carp, silver carp, and common carp, Indian Rohu, Katla, and Mrigal are grown in village ponds.
Biofloc Fish Farming in Punjab
Biofloc fish farming method is a profitable business. It has become popular all around the world as an alternative to the open pond fish farming business. It is a low-cost method in which toxic materials for the fish like Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite can be converted into feed. The main principle of this method is to recycle nutrients. It helps in cleaning the culture water of the fish while giving an additional feed source and it is an eco-friendly process.
The maximum cost is due to feeding ingredients for fish in fish farming. It is useful to recycle this waste into feed again reducing the expense of high protein feeds. Biofloc system has gained vital importance in the aquaculture system.
The advantage of BFT is;
- Eco-friendly culture system
- It reduces environmental impact
- Judicial use of land and water
- Limited or zero water exchange system
- BFT has higher productivity that means it enhances survival rate, growth performance, and better feed conversion.
- Higher biosecurity.
- Also, reduces water pollution and mitigate the risk of introduction and spread of some pathogens
- It also reduces the pressure on capture fisheries i.e., use of cheaper fish food and trash fish for fish feed formulation.
The process for fish farming in Punjab
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Fish farms operate for commercial and residential sales. Many different fish species can be raised in controlled environments. It is possible to raise many different fish types from table fare to exotic tropical species. Moreover, many fish farms operate as fun places where individuals and families can go fishing.
Decide on a Location
The best soil type for fish ponds has a lot of clay. Fish pond design is different for different species. Catfish are bottom feeders. There are elements in fish pond design that don’t change. You want good inflow and outflow, into an irrigation ditch. To allow for moving equipment, feeding, and harvest, you want enough space between ponds. You could have to provide protective barriers to protect the fish from predators.
We want to consider some factors when selecting land and it mainly includes soil quality, size, and source of water. Select a place that is big enough. The soil quality directly affects the fish quantity and the quality. Therefore, choose a place with high-quality soil. You must do a soil test to make sure that it is at least over 20% clay and check the relative level of space.
It is important to make that this place is not easily flooded. It will help you to prevent dirty water from entering the bond and the land should have fewer rocks. You must have access to the municipality water source for starting a fish farm business in the city or town area. It is necessary to find a place near the stream, lake, or river for starting fish farming in a village area.
Select the type of fish farming
After that, you need to consider when starting a fish farm is the type of fish that you are going to use for farming. Choosing the right fish species plays an important role in a successful business. The decision must be based on a maintenance point of view, management outlook, market demand, and availability of resources, etc.
Design your fish pond
Remember, deep fish ponds aren’t needed. If you’re starting with a deep pond, you will want to construct cages to restrict the fish to that depth. The pond should only be 4 to 6 feet deep. The stocking rates of a fish pond are based on surface acreage, not pond volume. Though, the stocking rate is from 2,000 to 6,000 pounds per acre. The rate is dependent on the fish species.
The best location for fish pond construction is flat with plenty of clay in the soil. It is useful to leave land around the fish ponds, to make it easier to feed and harvest the fish.
Procurement of equipment needed for fish farming
Some of the basic equipment necessary for the fish farming business can be given below.
- Fish counters
- Water testing equipment
- Net/Seine reels
- Fish tanks/Ponds
- Aeration devices
- Fish graders.
Get training about fish farm
For starting a fish farming business, you want to get involved in good training. For you to learn it well, it is required that you undergo at least 2 months of training on fish farming. You must have a good knowledge of how to establish an aquaculture business for a successful business. Also, you can visit some fish farms in your area to connect with those who have entered into fish farming before you. The internet is another source of knowledge, you can find more about aquaculture and fish farming from the internet. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure you do whatever it takes to obtain direct knowledge about the business. You can consider taking a part-time job at a local fishery, as it will help to gain more experience in the fish farming business.
Set your goals
It is very important to set your goals before embarking on any business of your choice. You have to know the number of people you will need, how much capital is required, what you are going to produce and how much you are expecting from the fish farming business.
Preparing a fish farming business plan will help you to fully understand your business, help you select the best location; get the required government documents or licenses. You will need business planning, to get a loan from the bank and get investors.
Feeding the Fish
Usually, you have selected and kept the right fish species; and let us see how you feed them. Fish need to feed well and this means that buying them supplements will increase their productivity. The population of the fish must be limited to ensure that they do not compete for food. Make sure you can buy pellets that are either made of soy, maize, vegetable product, and rice.
By providing proper care and feed for fish will make them gain weight rapidly. Also, you can spur the algae growth in the pond by adding some chicken droppings. They will grow rapidly providing an additional food source. It is best to feed the fish in the morning hours and afternoon. Remember that you don’t allow any uneaten food to remain in the fish pond for many hours. This is because it can become toxic. There are many different supplementary foods available for the different fish species.
The desired final size of the fish within a designated period is determined by the environmental conditions of the pond. Though, the availability and application of the required resources necessary to maintain the optimum conditions for growth i.e., water flow, supplemental fertilization. The marketable size fish for the Punjab province weighs about 1 to 2.0 kg. This is attainable in an 8 months culture period (March through October). The final product is about 1000-1200 kg of about 1.5 kg fish per culture period.
Manage feeding practices
To manage feeding practices, fish feeds contribute the largest share of waste in and around fish farms. Then, these will sink to the bottom, causing the water quality to deteriorate. When released, these effluents degrade the water quality of the surrounding area.
Usually, when using low-grade feed pellets with excessively high protein content, high levels of unused nutrients end up in the faeces of the fish, which pollutes the water they live in. It is recommended to use high-quality pellets specifically designed for your selected fishes. By applying high-quality food results in better growth rates and improved health, increasing farm performance.
Harvesting fish is one of the most important activities of the fish farming business. It is a very important step in getting fish out of production facilities in good condition. Based on your needs and circumstances, fish can be harvested from a pond filled with water or drained.
The fish harvesting process is done by using a net. It must be noted that different species of food are harvested at different stages and weights. For you to get maximum food and to give quality fish to your customers, you must ensure that they are harvested in the right way and at the right time.
Marketing is the easiest step in fish farming. There are numerous markets available where you can sell your fish products. Almost all fishes have a huge demand in the market.
Setting up a fish farming business needs a good marketing strategy. You must look for the market that has a high demand for fish, most especially the fish species you are into. In fish marketing, always make sure to let your customers know that fish are been grown and raised with natural methods. The marketing plan will aid you to produce more goods and services for your fish farm to meet the demands of your customers.
After fish harvesting, you can easily sell the fish in the nearest local market. For exporting fish to foreign countries there are many companies available. Therefore, don’t worry about marketing the products, just focus on the other steps. It is very profitable and a good source of earning livings.
Supplementary feeding requirement for fish farming in Punjab
Enough food will be produced in a well-managed fertilized pond to permit the Silver, Rohu, Mori, and Thalia to attain marketable size in a prescribed growth period. All fish species will accept supplemental feeds. But the bottom and water column feeding species can receive the most benefit if the amount of organic material in the pond is limited.
Four rules should be followed when feeding fish. Firstly, a regular feeding schedule must be followed, because infrequent feeding will have a little measurable effect on growth. The fish must be fed, on daily basis during the warm months before harvest. The feed quantity must be calculated by the farmer based on actual sample weight data collected at the end of each month. The fish should be fed at the same time each day, and at the same place in· the pond. The fish will quickly become accustomed to being fed and will move to the feeding area as soon as the farmer appears at the edge of the pond. This will helps the farmers to void wasting feed. Lastly, the farmer must carefully observe feeding behavior and determine the extent to which the fish are consuming the feed given.
In Punjab, the common supplemental feeds used for raising fish are rice bran or polishing. These feeds are inexpensive, but their low protein content necessitates that relatively large amounts be fed to the fish. A simple mixture of rice bran or polishing and any of the oilseed cakes available in Punjab can be used.
NABARD and other schemes available for fish farming in Punjab
Generally, NABARD is used for the national bank of agriculture and rural development, and also promotes rural development and sustainable agriculture in the country. Some functions include the generation of new technology, finance solutions, non-finance solutions, and the development of institutions.
Fish Farming eligibility norms for schemes under NABARD
Some eligibility norms for schemes under NABARD are;
- Lake, pond, or tank
- Open water bodies
- Hatchery and raceway
- Rearing farms
- Fishing properties that are licensed
Beneficiaries can include the below professionals or associations;
- Marine fisheries
- Individual or an association of farmers
- SHG (Self-help group)
- Joint Liability groups
- Women groups
Security for Bank
As per the guidelines issued by the RBI, the banks require security from individual fishermen or a group. Bank subsidy is provided for several works involved in a fish farm like the development of the pond, for new pond construction, and inputs for the first year, etc. In most cases of government-supported subsidy loan schemes, it is mandatory to get a bank loan to avail of the subsidy. Bank loans that cover about 75 % to 90 % of the total cost for development shall be obtainable from the financing institutions. For these models, bank loans cover about 75 %.
The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) is an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, and Government of India to enhance fish production and productivity in the country to fishery growth.
Vision – Adopting new and innovative production technologies, and utilization of water resources, the establishment of adequate infrastructure for post-harvest operations, and proper market tie-ups.
Some major objectives are;
- To provide attention to fisheries and aquaculture systems like production, processing, storage, transport, and marketing.
- To achieve sustainable management of natural aquatic resources
- Apply modern tools of development for optimizing production
- To provide modern infrastructure mechanisms for effective management
- To train people in the fisheries sector
- To improve the contribution of the fish toward food and nutritional security
Problems of fish farming in Punjab
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The major problems in fish production and marketing are poaching, the incidence of disease, less subsidy and lack of remunerative price, and low price, etc. Some major policy issues were brought out like higher subsidization of fish farming, and involvement of government agencies for the purchase of fish produced at the remunerative price and also increasing the fish demand by advertising about its nutritional importance. The biggest source of pollution is the accumulation of fish waste which can degrade the quality of the surrounding water.
Water pollution – In these, too many nutrients and nitrogen from food waste in the water stress the environment and other fish.
Disease – Parasites, viruses, and also bacteria can be the main problems in wild and farmed fish.
Lack of availability of good seed quality is a major problem in fish farming. Some methods have been worked out to breed these fish in ponds to overcome this problem. Then, this has ensured the pure fish seed supply in desired quantities.
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