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Fish farming, a lucrative, but a delicate business

NIGERIA - Lucky Iyaogeh is a graduate of accountancy, but, rather than accounting, he decided to go into fish farming. He is now Managing Director, EEFarm Ventures, located at Ikotun, a Lagos suburb.

The farm, which produces mainly catfish and finger-lings for commercial quantities, started operations in 2005. Before then, Lucky had worked with Ammo Farms in Ibadan, Oyo State, where he actually learnt the technicalities involved in managing a modern fish pond using the recycling system.

Explaining the stages involved in the production of fish, Lucky noted that the pond has an hatchery which produces about 50,000 finger-lings per week. These are sold to other fish farmers who are not in the production of finger-lings. He added that the finger-lings are nurtured to table sized fish, which is the stage they are consumed.

According to him, the mixture of fish egg and sperm of the male fish produces finger-lings "which is made possible by brood-stock". Explaining the stages of fish development, Mr Iyaogeh pointed out that from finger-lings, which is the first stage, they develop into juvenile stage under one and half months. “It is at this juvenile stage we stock or sell to other farmers. From the stock stage, they are reared to the table-sized fish and then sold to the public.

“When they are at the juvenile stage, you have to feed them on imported feeds because of the floating nature of the feeds. Continuing, he said that when the juveniles are at the grow-out stage, you should feed them with locally produced feeds. "The purpose of this is to reduce your overhead cost. It is very important to note that from the finger-lings stage to grow-out stage, you have to do regular sorting of the fish to avoid the smaller fish being cannibalised by the bigger ones.

“For instance, you can stock about 2,500 finger-lings, but because of irregular sorting, the shooters amongst the finger-lings can cannibalize the smaller ones, and, at end of the day, you may end up having about 1,000 surviving. For those who don’t understand this problem of non-sorting, they will think that their fish have been stolen by some people. The purpose of sorting is to separate the smaller fish from the bigger ones, known as shooters", Lucky stated.

Source: Vanguard