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Community Partnerships for Sustainable Resource

Management in Malawi (COMPASS II)


Private Bag 20
Blantyre, Malawi
Tel: 265 (0) 1 822 800
Fax: 265 (0) 1 822 852
Chief of Party: Todd Johnson
Media Productions Officer: Patrick Mphaka
Public Awareness Specialist: Levi Manda
Enterprise Specialist: Shelix Munthali

Development Alternatives Inc.


7600 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 200
Bethesda, MD
20814 USA
Tel: 301-771-7600
Fax: 301-771-7777
Email: dai@dai.com
Website: www.dai.com

Spectrum Media
271 Willow Ave.
Somerville, MA
02144 USA
Tel: 617-491-4300
Fax: 617-718-9216
Email: info@SpectrumMedia-boston.com
Media Campaign Specialist: Jamil Simon
Video Production Specialist: Eric Neudel
Graphic Designer: Leila Simon

World Fish Center


P.O. Box 229
Zomba, Malawi
Tel: 265 (0) 1 536 313
Fax: 265 (0)1 536 274
Website: www.worldfishcenter.org

Illustrator: Richard Mwale


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

CONTENTS

1. Introduction 1

2. Preparing for Fish Farming 7

3. Getting Your Pond Ready for Your Fish 17

4. Nursery Management 21

5. Fish Growth and Reproduction 27

6. Maintaining your pond 30

7. Harvesting 38

8. Marketing 42

9. Benefits of Working with Other Fish Farmers 43

10. The Business of Fish Farming 45

11. Summary 54

COMPASS II
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

USAID / MALAWI
FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

1. Introduction
What is Fish Farming?

Having a site with fish


ponds

Harvesting fish

Selling fish

COMPASS II 1. INTRODUCTION 1
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Benefits of fish farming

Income Nutritious food

Examples of what fish farmers have been able to do with their income

Pay for school fees Buy transport Improve housing

It can fit into your existing farm

Vegetable farming and fish farming Animal farming and fish farming

2 1. INTRODUCTION USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Who can be involved in fish farming?

Men and boys Women and girls Community leaders

Fish farming can be done individually or in groups

Working individually is good for people But it is hard to make a large profit
with lots of time...

Working in a group increases capacity, A larger volume of fish is easier to sell


and costs are shared and more profitable

COMPASS II 1. INTRODUCTION 3
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
All aspects of fish farming can be done by women

Digging Feeding

Maintaining Harvesting

Selling Financial management

4 1. INTRODUCTION USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Requirements for fish farming

Land Good water supply

Good clayey soil (sandy clay, Land for ponds close to home
loamy clay, clay)

Warm temperatures Avoid areas that flood

COMPASS II 1. INTRODUCTION 5
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Fish farming also requires

Knowledge Hard work

Daily effort Enthusiasm

Help from a fisheries officer or an


experienced fish farmer

6 1. INTRODUCTION USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK
2. Preparing for Fish Farming
Equipment

Slasher Panga knife Hoes

Shovels Wheelbarrow Rammer

Buckets Pick PVC pipes

Nets / ropes Scale Record keeping books

COMPASS II 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING 7


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Location
Build your ponds on a gentle slope or flat land.

A gentle slope Flat land

Soil
Soil containing clay is best for a fish pond because it holds the water well

Dig at least 1 metre into Make a handful of Throw into the air
the ground soil into a ball

Good soil Bad soil

8 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Water sources
Your ponds will need to have a source of water.

A spring A stream Ground water

Temperature
Fish grow best in warm water

Pond area should be clear Reduce shade

COMPASS II 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING 9


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Pond Construction
A fish farm should have at least 1000 square metres of pond to make a profit

Pond planning

Build a Dugout Pond on flat Build a Contour Pond on land


land with a slight slope

The pond should have a shallow side and a deep side so the
water can flow using gravity

10 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Plan the way that the water will


come in and out of the pond

Plan where the inlet and outlet pipes work best

Think ahead about where you will put future ponds

COMPASS II 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING 11


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
How to construct a pond

Clear the ground Remove trees, shrubs, roots and


stones

Place pegs at each corner of the pond

Remove top soil and save it near Dig layers of 15-20 cm of soil at a
the pond edges time

12 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Build a clay core (for Contour Ponds only)

Contour Pond WITHOUT clay Contour Pond WITH clay core


core can leak prevents water from leaking out

Start by digging a trench around the Fill the trench with good strong
deeper side of the pond 50 cm. wide and clay soil
30-60 cm. deep

Compact the clay soil each time


you put a thin layer down

COMPASS II 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING 13


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Building a dyke

Deposit 20-30 cm layer of soil on Moisten the soil if dry


marked dyke area

Use rammers to compact soil as Shape slope of dyke


you add layers

Scrape surface to produce even Top of dyke should be 1 metre


slope wide

14 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Building inlet and outlet structures

The inlet pipe lets water into the An outlet pipe lets water flow out
pond of the pond

The overflow pipe lets excess water flow Use 50 mm PVC pipes (bamboo can also
out of the pond when the water gets too work)
high

Put a screen on the inlet pipe to stop un- Keep bent outlet pipe upright to keep
wanted fish, and predators from entering water in pond
the pond

COMPASS II 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING 15


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Plant grass on pond dykes to stabilize


them

16 2. PREPARING FOR FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

3. Getting Your Pond Ready for Your Fish


Liming reduces acidity and makes fertilizer work more effectively

There are different types of lime: agriculture lime, builder’s lime and wood ash

Spread lime around the empty pond

Pond fertilization

There are different types of fertilizer: inorganic fertilizer, compost and animal manure

COMPASS II 3. GETTING YOUR POND READY 17


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Spread compost on the bottom of the


pond

Pond filling

Put stones on bottom of pond where the Fill pond SLOWLY at the beginning to
water will fall to avoid erosion allow soil to settle and seal

Water depth should be 1-1.2 metres at


the deep end and .5 metres at the shal-
low end

18 3. GETTING YOUR POND READY USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Stocking the pond with fish

You can buy brood stock from a fingerling or you can produce your own fingerlings
breeder...

Stock at 5 fingerlings per square metre Stock fingerlings at 25-30 g weight

Grade the fingerlings before stocking Containers holding fingerlings should be


put into the pond for about 10 minutes

COMPASS II 3. GETTING YOUR POND READY 19


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

DO submerge the bucket when DON’T pour fingerlings on top of water


pouring fish into the pond

Watch fish in the first 2-3 days after Note any mortalities in record book, and
stocking remove dead fish

Replace the number of dead fish within


the first two weeks

20 3. GETTING YOUR POND READY USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK
4. Nursery Management
Equipment

Hapa Scoop net Buckets

Seine net / ropes Plastic bags Oxygen

COMPASS II 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT 21


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Place 3 x 3 x 1 hapa in pond. This can hold around 6000 fingerlings.

Skim fry every week after fish start Feed fry with same feed as for brood
breeding and place them in hapa stock but with smaller particle sizes

Feed fry at 10% body weight

22 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK
Handling fingerlings

Handle fish with scoop net as much as Reduce handling time as much as possible
possible

Wet hands before touching fish Handle fish gently

Transport fish in cool weather Keep fish in water while counting

COMPASS II 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT 23


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Fill containers with pond water when Work fast and travel quickly
transporting

Keep containers under shade Always check temperatures

Cover containers with leaves or hessian Use buckets to move fish on the same
sack farm or to a nearby farm

24 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Use oxygenated plastic bags to move If transporting long distances, put fish in
many fish or for long distances (this is a a container without food for 2-3 days to
more expensive option) prepare them for the trip

Don’t

Don’t use dirty containers Don’t put fish in muddy water

Don’t squeeze, drop or throw fish Don’t leave fish in containers for a long
time

COMPASS II 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT 25


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Don’t let fish stand in sunlight Don’t overcrowd fish in containers

Don’t change the water temperature too


quickly

26 4. NURSERY MANAGEMENT USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

5. Fish Growth and Reproduction


Ideal conditions for fish to grow in

Warm weather Sunlight coming into the pond

Water should not continuously flow Maintain correct water depth


through the pond

Add fresh water when level drops below Add fresh water if fish are gasping for air
15 cm

COMPASS II 5. FISH GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION 27


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Feeding your grown fish

Feed fish with protein based feed Feed should be made of 30% soya and
70% bran

Soya should be well roasted under Feed can come in pellets, powder or
medium heat paste

Feed grown fish at 3-5% body weight Feed fish at least twice per day, at 8-10 in
the morning and at 2-4 in the afternoon

28 5. FISH GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Storing feed

Store enough feed for 1 production cycle Store feed in a well ventilated room
approximately 4 months

Don’t store feed in humid conditions

COMPASS II 5. FISH GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION 29


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

6. Maintaining Your Pond


Water quality

Check the fish in the morning Water should not continuously flow
through the pond or the nutrients will
flow out of the pond

The pond water should be green Put arm into pond up to elbow, if you
cannot see your hand, the water has
enough nutrients

Add fresh water when level drops below Add fresh water if fish are gasping for air
15 cm

30 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK
Predators and some ways to prevent them

Otter Use fencing

Predatory fish Put screens on water inlet and overflow


pipes

COMPASS II 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND 31


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Monitor lizard

Use fencing Keep pond clear of weeds

32 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Birds

Use traps Stretch string across pond

Hang bird scares Keep pond water green

COMPASS II 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND 33


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Aquatic insects

Drain pond and let it dry completely Lime pond


before refilling

34 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Humans

Build ponds close to homes Visit ponds frequently

COMPASS II 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND 35


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Maintenance of your pond

Weed the pond banks and surrounding Drain pond after each production cycle
area

Repair pond Lime pond to kill small bugs and parasites

Rehabilitate the pond after every growing Clean inlets and outlets - pipes and
cycle screens

36 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Add water if level has dropped Check water colour and add fertilizer if
needed

Remove weeds from pond Cut grass on pond banks

Check frequently for signs of theft and


predators

COMPASS II 6. MAINTAINING YOUR POND 37


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

7. Harvesting
Equipment

Net / ropes Buckets Scale

Wheelbarrow

38 7. HARVESTING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK
When and how to harvest

Harvesting can be done after a 4-5 month growing cycle

To harvest, you can either drain the pond Or you can use a seine net

COMPASS II 7. HARVESTING 39
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
How to prepare your fish for market

Advertise the harvest Catch fish early in the morning

Clean the fish after harvest Grade the fish

Set fish prices according to grades... Small fish sell at a lower price
Large fish sell at a higher price

40 7. HARVESTING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

How to keep your fish fresh on the trip to the market

Keep the fish at low temperatures Use ice blocks if the market is far

After the harvest

Drain and dry pond for 2 weeks Prepare to fill with water

Refill the pond

COMPASS II 7. HARVESTING 41
MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

8. Marketing
How to prepare your fish and make them attractive to the customer

Produce good size fish Well fed fish grow faster and to a bigger
size, giving you more money

Ice fish soon after harvesting to maintain Package and brand properly
freshness

Transport early in the morning Sell in big markets located in major towns

42 8. MARKETING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

9. Benefits of Working with Other Fish Farmers

Equipment can be shared Saving everyone money

Each person has a special talent

Some people specialize in Some people specialize in Some people specialize in


pond construction marketing record keeping

COMPASS II 9. BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH OTHERS 43


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

You can access bigger loans in a group Marketing together can bring more
money to the members of the group

In a group, you can buy larger quantities


of feed at a lower cost per kilo

44 9. BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH OTHERS USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

10. The Business of Fish Farming

Fish Farming can be a profitable business... if it is managed carefully

It can take two production cycles to begin So make sure you have cash reserves to
making a good profit make it through the first two production
cycles

You earn good profits by producing fish High production means a bigger profit
of at least 150 grams

COMPASS II 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING 45


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

When fish farming is done on a small and make only a little money
scale, you spend more money...

When fish farming is done on a large and earn more money


scale, you spend less money...

46 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Investing in equipment and pond construction

You will have to invest money in your fish


farming business

Pond excavation Feed


MK25000 for 1000 sq metre pond K1000 for 50 kg bag

Hapas Seine nets


MK6000 for 1 hapa (3x3x1 metres) K20000 (30 m x 2 metres)

COMPASS II 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING 47


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

Panga knives Scale


MK350 MK3000

48 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Record keeping

Record all aspects of your business


into 1 book

Equipment costs Labor costs Money spent on feeds Time spent

Fish harvested Transport and market costs Total sales

COMPASS II 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING 49


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD

How to manage a loan

Borrow the money from a bank Buy equipment

Set up your fish farm Produce your fish

Sell your fish Make loan repayment

50 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Use your profit to invest in more Put extra money into a savings account
equipment

Use your money responsibly Don’t drink your money away! Don’t spend money
on immorality.
Avoid contracting AIDS!

COMPASS II 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING 51


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
Making loan payments

You can make loan repayments in You can make loan repayments in a city
rural areas

Avoid informal lending, borrow money from When you pay on time you build trust and
established banks the bank will be more likely to lend you
money again

52 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING USAID / MALAWI


FISH FARMER’S HANDBOOK

Savings

You can deposit money in a savings bank in You can deposit money in a savings bank in
rural areas the city

Benefits of putting money in a savings account:

It encourages responsible spending Your money is safe in a bank

Income increases because your savings earn You can use the money that you save to
interest make a large purchase in the future

COMPASS II 10. THE BUSINESS OF FISH FARMING 53


MALAWI GOLD STANDARD
11. Summary

If you work hard... If you take care of your fish...

If you take care of your equipment... If you pay close attention to your business...

Your fish farming business will be a success!

54 11. SUMMARY USAID / MALAWI

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