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Fish Farming & Aquaculture

Course CodeBAG211
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn Fish and Crustacean Farming

  • Learn to grow freshwater fishes, crayfish, etc
  • Discover a whole new way of farming; for greater sustainability and diversification on the farm
  • Broaden your knowledge and skills, exploring and extending opportunities for business and career

With the current global decline in wild fish stocks, aquaculture has become a rapidly growing business, this course focuses on the set up and cultivation of fish in a commercial enterprise while looking in depth at several commonly farmed species including: trout, barramundi, bass and marrons, yabbies and red claw.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Advantages and disadvantages, references, applications and potential.
  2. Production Systems
    • Defining and comparing extensive and intensive production.
  3. Species to Grow
    • Trout, Mullet, Marron, Bass, Barramundi, Yabbies, Red Claw & more.
  4. Trout
    • Trout & water, determining water flow, temperature, dissolved oxygen, stocking rates, spawning, checking fish & stripping technique, fertilization and hatching.
  5. Barramundi
    • Industry perspective, breeding & growth rates, fry maintenance, after care, pod rearing, costs.
  6. Bass
    • Australian and other species
  7. Marron, Red Claw and Yabbies
    • Habitat requirements, water, temperature, pH, salinity, pond size, organic loading, water clarity, feeding, harvesting.
  8. Setting up a Farm
    • Land and water needs, pond construction, cages, biological filtration, clearing turbid water, improving quality, protecting stock.
  9. Foods & Feeding
    • Pellets, live food, fishmeal, lights, importance of food.
  10. Harvesting
    • Seine nets, gill nets, traps, flyke trap, long lines, marketing produce.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • To discuss the nature and scope of freshwater aquaculture.
  • Explain different aquaculture production systems.
  • Compare the cultural requirements of different types of fish and choose the most suitable for aquaculture in your region.
  • Explain the commercial production of trout.
  • Explain the commercial production of barramundi.
  • Explain the commercial production of bass.
  • Explain cultural practices for freshwater crayfish.
  • Develop informed management decisions for establishing an aquaculture enterprise.
  • Explain methods, including feeding and harvesting, used to manage freshwater animal populations.
  • Describe harvesting and marketing in an aquaculture enterprise.

Why Farm Fish?

Aquaculture can increase efficiencies and productivity on farms, giving increased return from under utilized resources (eg. farm dams, space, etc). Such resources include the use of crop wastes, marginal land unsuitable for crops or pastures, effluent water, and such like. Fish production can use many of these efficiently. A prime example is the use of piggery and poultry wastes for fertilization of fish ponds.

Most farms have some form of water storage necessary for the watering of animals and the irrigation of pastures and feed crops. The many hectares of water that stand idle all over our country can be used for fish production while it is waiting to be used for irrigation. This allows the water to be used more efficiently by producing fish in it before using it for irrigation. The integration of fish farming in an established farming system can be beneficial to the latter. The organic enrichment of the water will benefit any crops being irrigated with this water.

There are certain advantages to aquaculture:

  • It is known to produce more animal protein per hectare than most other kinds of livestock farming.

  • It can often make good use of marginal land which is unsuitable for other forms of agriculture.

  • Fish contain a greater percentage of edible flesh than most other farmable animals.

  • Livestock live off food generally inedible to man (i.e. grazing and natural pasture).
  • They also require less feed to produce this flesh. The feed conversion efficiency is partly due to most fish being cold blooded and not having to expend energy to keep warm or cool. This energy remains stored as flesh and fat. Also, the buoyancy of the water habitat in which fish live means they have to use less energy for movement and support than land animals.

There are also certain disadvantages:

  • Commercial production of fish requires a high quality, high protein feed. The proportion of protein in most livestock diets is lower than that required for fish, and many are adapted to extract the protein from amino acids in the plants they feed on.

  • Setting up an intensive fish farm is far more expensive than enclosing land with conventional or electric fencing and establishing grazing for livestock.

  • The constant nature of aquatic environments means that fish are prone to a wide variety of sicknesses, diseases, parasites and predators. They can tolerate only small changes in their environment and these must not be too sudden or drastic.

  • Aquaculture requires a clean supply of water, free of excess nutrients or pollutants.

The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages under most circumstances. It is up to each individual farmer to determine if farming with fish can fit into his existing farming facilities and plans and if it will be profitable for him to add fish to his farming operation, or change completely to fish production.



Meet some of our academics

Dr Robert BrowneZoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.
Alison PearceUniversity Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.
Barbara SeguelTeacher and Researcher, Marine Scientist, Tourism and Outdoor recreation guide, Health and Safety Coordinator & Production Manager for Fisheries, National Park Staff/Farmer, Laboratory technical aide, Zoo, Wildlife and Marine Park assistant. Barbara has worked in Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Barbara has a B.Sc. Marine (Academic degree) and M.Sc Aquaculture Engineering.
Peter Douglas Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and beyond.