Q.1 What is aquaculture?

The broad term “aquaculture” refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of animals and plants in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.  Aquaculture is used for producing seafood for human consumption; enhancing wild fish, shellfish, and plant stocks for harvest, restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species rebuilding ecologically, producing nutritional and industrial compounds, and providing fish for aquariums.

Q.2 Why do we need aquaculture?

Aquaculture is one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein.  Fish come out well because, in general, they convert more of the food they eat into body mass than land animals.  “Feed Conversion Ratios” indicate how many pounds of feed it takes to produce a pound of protein.  As can be seen in the table below, salmon – the most feed-intensive farmed fish – is still far more efficient than other forms of protein production.

Q.3 What is ‘stock enhancement?

Stock enhancement – also known as ‘restoration aquaculture’ – is a method through which fish and shellfish are raised in a hatchery and then released to supplement the populations of recreational, commercial, and ecologically-important species.

Q.4 What is a hatchery and why is it important?

Hatcheries provide the seed for aquaculture and some commercial fisheries.  All kinds of fish and shellfish begin life in tanks in a hatchery. A hatchery is a mix of a laboratory and a farm, where fish and shellfish are spawned, then hatched and cared for.  They remain at the hatchery until they are large enough to be transferred to a fish or shellfish farm or released into the wild as part of a stock enhancement program. Commercial fish and shellfish farms require a steady, predictable source of juveniles from hatcheries in order to stay in operation and provide a consistent product.

Q.5 What’s the difference between fingerlings and juveniles?

Fingerlings are fishes that are after birth about 1 week to about 3 weeks old, while juveniles are 4 weeks to about 6 weeks after birth. Juveniles should be about 8 cm in length and 2 grams in weight

Q.6 Does the FDB provide the fish seed to farmers?

Yes, fish seed is provided by FDB from Thailand.

Q.7 Does the department prepare feasibility report for fish farming?

Yes, the department prepares feasibility report for fish farming without any charging and technical guidance is provided to the fish farmer free of cost.

Q.8 What is the name of culture able fish in Punjab?

Rahu, Mori, Thaila, Silver-carp, Saul, Kalbans, Masheer, Singharee, Gulfam, Bighead carp, Grass-carp, Rainbow Trout and GIFT Tilapia are culture able fish.

Q.9 How do shrimp and prawn differ?

Prawns are larger in size, and have larger legs with claws on three pairs. They have branching gills. Shrimp are smaller, have shorter legs and have claws only on two pairs. Their gills are lamellar, i.e. plate-like.

Q.10 What is an anadromous and catadromous fish?

An anadromous fish, born in fresh water, spends most of its life in the sea and returns to fresh water to spawn. Salmon, smelt, shad, striped bass, and sturgeon are common examples.

A catadromous fish does the opposite – lives in fresh water and enters salt water to spawn. Most of the eels are catadromous.

Q.11 How is the age of a fish determined?

Mainly by two methods: Growth “rings” on scales, and/or ringlike structures found in otoliths (small bones of the inner ear), are examined and counted. The rings correspond to seasonal changes in the environment and can be compared to the annual rings of tree trunks. A series of fine rings are laid down in scales for each year of life in summer, the rings grow faster and have relatively wide separations; in winter, slower growth is indicated by narrow separations between rings. Each pair of rings indicates one year. Because scale rings are sometimes influenced by other factors, scientists often use otoliths, whose ringlike structures also indicate years of life.

Q.12 How long do fish live?

A few weeks or months (some of the small reef fishes) to 50 years or more (sturgeons) Longevity information is still sparse, but scientists have learned that species live 10 to 20 years in temperate waters.

Q.13 Do some fish give birth to living young?

Yes, many do. These are called viviparous fishes. The sea perches of the Pacific coast, for example, give birth to living young of considerable size, sometimes one-fifth the size of the mother. Several kind of sharks produce living young

Q.14 What are the basic requirements for fish farming?

Site selection is most important requirement in aquaculture. For site selection, Soil Quality, Water Quality & Availability, Topography of the Land, Drainage Channel and the location are very important. The soil must have 25 – 30% clay content for building dykes, water retention and good production. There must be sample water of good quality. Lifting water to fill in large ponds is very costly and area that can be gravity filled and or drained are preferred.

Q.15 How much land is required?

For extensive / modified extensive, minimum land required is 50 acres or more. For a local working zamindar / agriculturist, even a 5 acre farm is feasible. For anyone wishing to start fish farming from scratch, 50 acres or more is economically feasible. For semi-intensive farming, project can be started from a few acres but 20 acres of land would be more desirable.
1 acre = 4840 sq yards – 1 hectare = 2.5 acres approximately.

 Q.16 How much capital is required?

This depends on the land layout, the height of the water and the depth of the drainage channel, topography of the land, how much to excavate without ruining/removing the top soil, distance of the water from land, the water channel, stocking rates of fish per acre and so on. Generally speaking, a minimum of Rs. 50,000 per acre (excluding price of land) of Capital investment is required to completion of ponds and stocking. There would be the matter of recurring expenses such as fertilization, staff salaries, construction of chowkis, chowkidars and ration etc. This too depends on the size of the farm. As such working capital of Rs. 30,000 per acre per annum is required.

Q.17 What are the returns?

Returns depend on inputs. Inputs are correct fish stocking rates, good quality identifiable seed, proper fertilization, vigilance and strong management. Harvest techniques, proper management of harvesters, transportation to market and having reliable staff to sell the produce is also very important. On average, you should expect to sell over Rs. 100,000 worth of fish per acre (gross). Average net income from fish farms is over Rs. 50,000 per acre per year but with proper management, net profits of Rs. 100,000 per acre per year can be achieved.

Q.18 How much does land cost?

Depending on the location whether main road or side road or very remote, land costs Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 300,000 per acre. Very good land can probably be purchased for around Rs. 125,000 per acre.

Q.19 What services do Aquaculture Technologies provide?

Everything from A-Z. Feasibility Reports, Site selection, land purchase, pond construction, seed selection or supply, staff, complete or partial management, harvest staff, training, marketing etc.