Four tips to make your fish farm environmentally sustainable

04 Sep 2021 05:54 PM Comment(s) By Aqgromalin Team

Rapid growth of the aquaculture sector has brought the spotlight on its environmental impacts as well. From farmed species of fish displacing indigenous ones to tonnes of aquaculture sludge blanketing and degrading coral reefs, traditional aquaculture as we know it, has become a boom-and-bust venture.

Most aquaculture operations in India often uses small ponds or cage systems built and handled by smallholder families or local companies. Fortunately, many of them are willing to embrace technology and explore the knowledge about how they can optimize their production while reducing the environmental impacts of their businesses.

Here, we offer four tips which have not only helped to improve the environmental sustainability of a few aquaculture operations, but have also improved their financial performance, creating a win-win situation for both people and nature.

1.  Choice of Species

What you choose to grow is important. It has to bring you monetary benefit while ensuring it doesn’t do harm to the existing ecosystem. Introducing fish which do not naturally occur in your location can spread quickly enough to rob native species of resources. On the other hand, native species do better as they are likely to have developed characteristics and habits ideal to local function. The demand for local species is often higher as people from a specific region prefer traditionally consumed species. This gives farmers the opportunity to quote higher prices and a very real incentive to choose native species.


2.  Location of Farm Site

When selecting a good site for a new fish farm, areas like swamps, coral reefs or mangrove forests should be avoided. These areas are environmentally sensitive and more prone to damage. Similarly, marine cages should be built in safe areas which is not susceptible to big storms since they can batter and destroy expensive and hard-to-repair pens and cages. Instead, a covered area that is kept safe from high waves should be picked.

3.  Design and Layout

In our experience, traditional fish farms directly release their untreated wastewater into the environment surrounding their farms. This is a serious concern for the natural environment, as well as surrounding communities. It is therefore advantageous to design ponds such that they treat and reuse this water. One can also use a biofloc system where waste materials are converted to feed fish and shrimp. This reduces waste output while driving down feed costs and enhancing farm productivity by up to 20 percent.


4.  Food for Thought

Feeds are the primary cause of waste in and around fish farms. When using low-quality feed pellets, a lot of them will be ignored by the fish. These will sink to the bottom, causing the water quality to reduce. Similarly, when using low-quality feed, they contain high protein. These unused nutrients end up in the faeces of the fish, polluting the water they live in. Therefore only quality pellets that are meant for your chosen fish species should be used.

Through these four tips, we hope you can develop sustainable practices in your fish farm. Producing more, increasing your revenue, alleviating food security and being a friend of the environment? Now that’s what we call a highly efficient business!

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