Backyard Fish Farming

Backyard fish farming is a lot like vegetable gardening. Feed family and friends year-round from a sustainable source of food.

| April/May 2006

Using inexpensive and readily available materials such as an aboveground swimming pool you can get fresh fish from your back yard. “By raising your own fish, you can achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency and provide a healthier diet for your family,” says Steven Van Gorder, author of Small-Scale Aquaculture. “Backyard fish farming is as practical as gardening for producing food for the family.”

Van Gorders book explains backyard aquaculture in detail, with plans and step-by-step instructions that can help you successfully raise fish even if your only source of water is a garden hose.

Puanani Burgess, executive director of the Waianae Coast Community Alternative Development Corp. in Waianae, Hawaii, says the methods “look so simple that everyone thinks, ‘Hey, I can do it.’” Fourteen years ago, Burgess’ group formed a micro-aquaculture cooperative, which hundreds of islanders have participated in over the years.

“It is really ideal for small, rural communities like ours,” Burgess says.

Historically, aquaculture has something of a bad reputation because it has been limited to large commercial facilities that require significant amounts of water and energy, and thus can be major sources of pollution. In contrast, Van Gorders systems blend 4,000-year-old cultural practices with refined modern techniques — using minimal energy and water — and put you in control of the purity and healthfulness of this food source. (For healthy and sustainable choices when you do buy seafood, see The Health Benefits of Eating Fish. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS)

There are several similarities between gardening and fish farming: Both plants and fish need food and warmth; just as certain plants favor different seasons, there are cold-hardy fish and heat-loving fish; and both sorts of “gardens” require regular maintenance — you can’t just scatter a handful of seeds or sprinkle a few fingerlings in a pond, then expect to harvest anything edible in a few months.

12/13/2016 9:34:00 AM

I don't know why this didn't cross my mind sooner. Got to thinking about it last night. Would love to hear any success stories of small scale projects.

1/19/2016 1:21:54 AM National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA) is one of the largest aquaculture operation of its type in the world and offers you the opportunity to enjoy products grown in our farms strategically located by the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

1/5/2015 5:07:27 PM

I am planning on raising crayfish , prawns ,and catfish for export this year. Two years of research has been done here . All comments welcome . T. Y. Chuck

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