Farm-Raised Fish Operation

FarmerJamie

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The son and I had a really good thought-provoking discussion last week. About five years ago, while he was in high school, he helped author, submit, and get approval for a grant to build a hydroponics lab, including including raising fish in the system. I think he is "eyeing" utilizing an acre or so of any new property. LOL. I don't have an issue with this. He seems very interested in the fish raising portion of this. He did get the school set up installed and running, including visiting several fish farms that provide young fish for pond/lake stocking.

Setting aside any regulations, permits, etc., I am looking for thoughts from all of you as to viability?

My initial questions revolve around the marketing of this? Would people buy locally raised fish? Specific species? How would you sell? Whole live fish, just the filets? We have multiple local farmers markets where he could have customers place orders, so we wouldn't necessarily need a store front - although there is a nice former store not far from here with a sales building and about 10 acres of land.

If we could make this work, I think it might be a nice retirement hobby for me. LOL
 

baymule

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I would start small, find your customers and grow from there. Check with the USDA on food handling also. You might need specific permits, liscense, etc.
 

frustratedearthmother

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That sounds really interesting. I know nothing about it - but I'd prefer to buy local than anything imported. Since your son already has experience with it - it could definitely be worth trying. Agree with starting small.
 

Lazy Gardener

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WOULD PEOPLE BUY LOCALLY RAISED FISH? At least where I live, most of the fish sold is farm raised. When it comes to salmon, I MUCH prefer farm raised salmon to wild caught. I find the texture and flavor of farm raised salmon to be a "melt in the mouth" experience, while wild caught salmon can be dry and tough.

What's your general location? climate? Growing zone? Hydro and aquaponics are definitely viable means of growing food, even in the far north. But, depending on climate, you would need to manage heat extremes. Is he thinking of doing concrete or dug pond management? Or a more traditional aquaponic set up? I could see him being successful at doing a aquaponic set up where both fish and vegetables are raised in a symbiotic relationship. However it's not as simple as just adding fish and seeds to a vat of water. One must have a thorough understanding of water chemistry, and management of that chemistry. Something as simple as a dead fish in the tank, power outage, clogged filter or other issue that interrupts water flow, or heat spike can cause the entire system to crash and burn in a matter of hours. I suggest that he start small, perhaps doing a system that will provide a few meals for the table before attempting to break into a competitive food production market. IBC totes, recycled bath tubs, food grade barrels are all utilized very economically. Other systems are built of wood, with addition of a pond liner.

Is he an adult? Do you envision a partnership with him? Check your local county agricultural extension office for information re: what is being done in your county, state, climate, as well as regulations.

Here's a great book that explains a lot of the details, types of systems, and inexpensive start ups.

https://img.thriftbooks.com/api/images/l/dcf3177f4561254c6583109b14e1e180efe15d88.jpg

This goes along with my: "If every one who could, WOULD" mantra. Encouraging the home owner to take charge of his own food production as much as possible.
 

flowerbug

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what is the climate like? heating/cooling and water supply? feed stock for the fish? location or siting would be important if you are going to try to use stream/river water and also there are going to be regulations about what can be released. also, with other recent problems with imported fish being released and becoming huge issues you may need to really figure out how to use local fish species instead of something exotic.

cleaning fish isn't something you really want to do in the middle of summer and some people don't ever want to do it period. the results though are some prime fertilizer for gardeners. how you manage that waste stream is critical.

at the other end. feeding. you can raise a lot of insects for not much and some people make a lot of money doing this for other hobbyists who are raising reptiles, etc.

worms are an excellent other source of potential income and also feed source.

crustaceans. mud bugs. shrimps. yum...

what you can raise as feed (greens, bugs, crustaceans and other fish) may all work together very nicely.

to me the big thing would be what the temperatures and water supplies are like.
 
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