Aquaculture is one of the aspects of agribusiness in Nigeria, and it is basically about fish farming. Fish farming is the activity that deals with the rearing of fish in a formulated aquatic enclosure such as ponds and plastic tanks. A fish pond is an enclosure built to retain water for growing fish, it allows feeding, breeding, growing, and harvesting of the fish in a well-planned way.
It can also be said that fish farming involves the controlled cultivation and harvesting of fish for either family consumption or for sales. Fish farming can be ventured into at any period of time because it is not seasonal and can be situated in any part of the country, and it does not cause any environmental hazard or pollution. It can be carried out in residential areas or selected farms. In Nigeria, it is estimated that 85 percent of farmers engage in fish farming, basically for-profit-making rather than consumption.
Types of Fishery and Aquaculture Production
There are three types and choices of fishery and aquaculture production systems in Nigeria, they are Monoculture, Bi culture, and Polyculture.
Mono Culture is the rearing of only one type of fish in a pond eg catfish. This is the major system that is commonly used in Nigeria, and the best of all types because the farmer tends to focus only on the fish and enjoy rearing them without any constraints affecting the other species.
Bi Culture involves the process of rearing two different species of fish in the same pond eg catfish and tilapia fish. This type requires a lot of caution and guidance so as to rear the two species successfully.
Poly Culture is the process of rearing two or more species of fish together in the same pond eg, catfish, tilapia fish, and salmon fish. This type is also not advisable because each fish’s diet and propagation differ which can affect their cohabitation and can cause one fish to yield better than the other.
Catfish and Tilapia are the most cultured fish species in Nigeria, fish farmers prefer to rear them because they have the ability to survive in a wide range of water and environmental parameters such as low dissolved oxygen levels that can be hazardous for other species.
Specifically, catfish’s demand is very high in Nigerian markets because it is consumed majorly in households, cool spots, restaurants, parties, hotels and so much more. The cultivation of catfish is very easy to carry out simply because they exhibit simple feeding patterns, like feeding on kitchen wastes and animal dung, thereby maximizing the profit of the fish farmer.
Furthermore, Tilapia fish is also a preferred fish species commonly reared by Nigerian fish farmers, because it is a warm water fish that grows very rapidly in size and reproduces at quick intervals compared to other types of fish and also meets market demands.
Salmon fish is seldomly reared by fish farmers here in Nigeria because consumers do not really demand it as such, it can only be reared if there is a specific demand for it by the consumers. Fish is important because it constitutes more than 65 percent of meat products in the market, and it is commonly demanded due to its high sources of protein, calcium, and minerals.
As of today, fish farming has generated a source of income, job opportunities, and food security in Nigeria. It is widely carried out by many farmers to generate income and to provide food for their families. Starting this project, there has to be a lot of planning and capital input so as to generate and maximize profits.
Fish farming has been in existence for over 50 years in Nigeria and has been continually growing big, thereby securing food and contributing to the progress of Nigeria. It is one of the popular businesses in Nigeria and it’s growing very fast due to the high demands.