This is the process of rearing of fish in the farm by the use of fish ponds for personal or commercial use.
The reason why some farmers opt to venture into fish farming is because fish is a reliable and cheap source of proteins this is specifically for small scale fish farmers meant for family consumption, and when the farmer decides to build several fish ponds, that becomes large scale fish farming and this can generate a steady income to the farmer.
When any farmer decides to venture into fish farming, he should be in a position to identify which type of fish will give maximum produce from the farm. Their ecological environment where they should be reared will be put into consideration. Here are some of the types of fish that are mainly grown in Kenya.
Fresh warm water
These types of fish do well in temperatures of up to 20 centigrade. Fish in this category include: tilapia, catfish, clasps and striped bars.
Fresh cold water fish
These types of fish prefer a temperature below 18 centigrade and water flowing into the pond each time to freshen oxygen and include trouts.
The requirement that the farmer should meet before engaging in fish farming
- A steady and reliable supply of clean water; water should be flowing in and out of the pond freely.
- Sloping type of land; the topography of the land should be a bit slant so as the top side of the land to the pond acts as the inlet and the lower end at the slope acts as the outlet of water from the pond.
- The type of soil where you want to put the pond also determines a lot, the pond can’t be placed in a sandy soil location because this type of soil drains water faster, the ideal place to place your fish pond in where there is clay soil. Clay soil tends to hold water for longer periods and has poor drainage capacity.
Establishment of a fish pond
- Site selection – the site for the pond should allow free movement of water in and from the pond.
- Site marking – the farmer should use pegs to illustrate how the water should flow in and out of the pond.
- Clearing of the land – vegetation around the site where the pond should be build is to be cleared to avoid fish predators hiding in them.
- The digging of the pond should be done using a machine or hands.
- After digging the pond, dykes should be built around it so as to avoid dirty rain water from floods finding their way in to the pond.
Procedures of constructing an inlet and outlet
- The inlet and outlet of the pond should be made of plastic pipes with a wire mesh placed before the pipes so as to avoid fish from swimming out of the pond and predators finding their way in to the pond.
- They should be constructed inside the dykes with the inlet built above water level; this ensures a constant level of water in the fish pond.
- The water output pipes should be constructed at the bottom of the pond and made in a way it can be opened and closed during the cleaning of the pond.
- Grass should also be planted on the dykes to avoid soil erosion and stabilize the dykes.
A meshed barbed wire should be used to make a fence around the fence to keep off the intruders.
Stocking of fish
This is the process of introducing fingerlings into the pond from hatcheries. In Kenya, these are some places where you can find fish fingerlings:
- Kiganjo fisheries
- Kisumu fisheries
- Sagana fisheries
The fingerlings should be placed in plastic containers at a temperature of 10 centigrade and containing oxygen and clean water before they are transported to the fish pond.
To introduce the fingerlings to the pond, the farmer should slowly lower the plastic container into the pond and then the fingerling poured to the pond, five to six fingerlings should be placed in five meter square site of water.
Feeding of fish
The farmer can feed the fish from artificial feeds or residuals from your kitchen and other feeds which maybe: groundnuts, kale leaves and even chicken manure.
The farmer shouldn’t over supply the fish pond because the remains of the feeds can turn poisoners and contaminate the pond, but a little manure should be applied into the pond to encourage the growth of planktons.
Cropping of fish in the pond
This is removal of only big and mature fish from the pond for sale and leaving the younger ones to still continue growing, this process can be done by use of nets and hooks.
Is the process of fishing out all types and sizes of fish from the pond. This process can be accomplished by opening the outlet pipe so as to drain the pond. Therefore, use a scoop net to catch the fish.
The harvested fish should be cleaned by removing mud, scales and the small intestines also removed from the fish. Clean the abdomen with clean water and place it in a clean open container.
There are several ways to preserve your fish after harvesting since fish is a perishable good, poorly preserved they will stale faster and rot.
These are some easy ways to preserve fish.
Dry using the sun, the fish is placed outside when the sun in hot to help reduce water content in the fish.
Salting your fish, salt also help in drying the fish by absorbing the water from it.
Smoking, after smoking your fish they can now stay for a longer period without rotting or staling.
Freezing, this is exposing the fish on cold temperatures below absolute zero centigrade.
Deep frying, this where the fish is deep into hot cooking oil, the fish becomes dry and can be kept for future use.