The importance of animal protein for human sustenance cannot be over-emphasized as it forms the main building block for growth and reproduction in animals including man. Fish being more nutritious and delicious when compared to other animal protein, is a readily available source of protein. It is cheap, easy to prepare and process and readily digested in human body system when consumed.
Catfish can be obtained either from the wild (rivers, streams and oceans) otherwise known as capture fishery or reared /farmed in receptacles (ponds, tanks, raceways, tarpaulin, bowls etc). With the increasing demand for fish as a result of population growth and subsequent depletion of our natural resources leading to reduction of catch from the wild, catfish farming becomes the only alternative left to bridge the gap between demand and supply of catfish and in extension meeting the demand for protein.
Realizing the importance of catfish farming as the only alternative and also a source of employment, a lot of people had ventured into the business with the hope of “making a living” and also contributing their quota in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Unfortunately, majority of such farmers have not been able to break-even in catfish farming, with some already “packing-up”. Research and observation have shown that majority of such farmers lack appropriate management techniques required in fish farming.
As stated earlier, fish farming can be practice in ponds, tanks, bowls etc. Different culture system requires different management technique, which also varies from one geographical region to another. Even the quantity of fish and species of catfish cultured to a large extent influence the management technique needed. A good understanding of the management technique needed for a particular culture system/ species being cultured is a necessary pre-requisite for successful catfish farming venture. As a farmer, if you are making use of an earthen pond to culture a particular species of fish for example Heterobranchus bidosalis, the way you prepare your pond, impound water, stock your fish, feed, change water, sort/sample the fish, manage disease conditions and harvest the fish will be different from that of a farmer who is using a concrete tank and culturing Clarias gariepinus.
For anyone to be successful in growing a particular species of fish using a particular culture system, let him/her first of all find out the management technique behind it. The concluding part will be coming in our next article. If you have questions, let us know in the comment section below and we will attend to you.
Iyobosa Omoregbe is an Aquaculture Trainer at The Ark Shore Konsults (T.A.S.K.). He holds a Master’s degree in Fisheries Management from the University of Benin, Nigeria.