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FAO-Farm Ponds for Water Fish and Aquaculture

FAO-Farm Ponds for Water Fish and Aquaculture

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Published by CIO-CIO

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Published by: CIO-CIO on Aug 11, 2009
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05/11/2014

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Smallholders may obtain their initial
fish seed from government or private
fish hatcheries or other suppliers.
But they may also produce their

own fingerlings, barter seed from
neighbour farmers, or catch from the
wild. In choosing seed their needs
to be a preference to use local and
indigenous species.
Small ponds (of about 4 m2

water
surface area) are built beside the
grow out ponds to hold small fish
while pond preparation and cleaning
is carried out. Once the main or grow-
out pond is cleaned and refilled, these
fish are transferred to it.
Organizations can play a role in
identifying sources of reliable quality
seed or securing initial seed as an
entry point to supporting smallholder
pond development. Care must be

Farm ponds for water, fish and livelihoods

27

taken in handling and stocking fish
fingerlings. Transport and stocking
must be done early in the day when
the water is coolest. Fish should be
counted at stocking. Poor handling
and transport techniques stress the
small fish and result in a lot of dead
fish after stocking. Appropriate
skills in these techniques need to be
learned.

Where species are available, it
may be good to raise two species of
fish together in a pond. As mentioned
above, a polyculture of the forage fish
such as tilapia with the predator such
as catfish can help produce larger
fish, transforming many small tilapias
into more desirable catfish. In such
a polyculture, the forage fish (i.e.
tilapia), is stocked ahead and allowed
to grow a month or so, or when it
starts reproducing, before stocking the
predator. Small catfish are commonly
stocked with tilapia in integrated
poultry-cum-fish or pig-cum-fish
farming systems resulting in higher
productivity. Such integrated systems
can only be done where there is good
security and full-time surveillance is
possible. As noted, it is best to have
all smallholder farm activities at one
core location.
Movement of live fish are subject
to controls. There are regulations and
protocols to comply with in moving
fish between watersheds and across
national borders. Farmers need

to be made aware of the rules on
movement and introduction of live
fish. Development organizations can
help farmers with compliance and
assist governments in recording these
movements.

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