veggievicki(7b)November 25, 2012

Is anybody doing the fish thing? We have a guy that comes to our market with beefalo and seems to do alright with that. That's all he does, no produce. I was considering trying out some aquaculture in my greenhouse but didn't know how complicated it would be to sell the fish at the market. Talapia seems to be the fish used most in aquaculture, but I have read that catfish is also a breed that works, and since I live in where people tend to like to eat catfish, I thought it might be an option.

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The vendor next to me sells frozen salmon that he catches while fishing in Alaska.

The aquaculture market is in the dumps right now due to competition from Asia. They can use antibiotics that are illegal here, but will allow for higher densities of fish. My local PBS station did a show on our aquaculture farmers and the only ones who were doing ok were selling live fish to upscale restaurants. No one can import live fish due to environmental laws, so they don't have to deal with foreign competition.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 1:51AM
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One vendor at our major market grows and sells shrimp. He used to grow trees and plants, but changed over to shrimp in his greenhouses. He grows them in large swimming pools. He says that he's doing ok, can't grow them fast enough. We are not in a shrimp area, and these are fresh-water shrimp.

We had one vendor that had a contact in Alaska and sold frozen fish, he made it 1 year at market and I don't know if he is still in business. He was at market and a storefront.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 1:31PM
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Not to be a downer here, but from what I understand, now is not the time to get into fish farming. I'm not sure a greenhouse would be large enough. To me the start up would be pretty expensive. I just completed a one acre pond 13 feet deep. Not counting my three years of work, cost was $7,000, which I believe is pretty cheap. Because it filled up quicker than I anticipated, I went ahead and stocked a few forage fish in it--nearly $200. It was nearly impossible to find a fish supplier. When I finally did, she said to stock now because fish food is going to be astronomical next year because of the drought. They can't even get more than a month's supply ahead of time right now. You're also going to need a pretty sophisticated aeration system, feeding stations, and a pretty costly means of filling and draining the pond. I'm also not sure of licenses, etc. You'd also need some pretty costly processing equipment. Tilapia are illegal in many states. You might, however, investigate koi farming.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 3:49PM
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I'm not sure what rules and inspections that he had to go thru, I know it did take him about 2 years to be able to sell his first shrimp. Since he had several huge greenhouses and the greenhouses were not making money (due to several other people getting into the greenhouse businesses), he started this shrimp business.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:46PM
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I wasn't really looking into fish farming per se. I have been looking at aquaponic set ups for my greenhouse. One in particular uses those big plastic containers with the wire mesh around them. You cut the top off and flip it. That becomes your grow bed and the fish live in the tank underneath. The fish produce the liquid fertilizer for the plants. They are almost a byproduct. Catfish fingerlings are easily accessible here as are trout. There is a huge trout fishing industry here. You can buy bass, blue gill, trout and catfish pretty easy. The farm supply places around will have "fish day" where a tank comes in and sells different fish. I was wondering how complicated it would be to sell those fish from the aquaculture tanks and if farmer's market customers are open to something like that.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:48PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

The main drawback would probably be the county board of health. None of those customers want to clean their own fish and you wouldn't be allowed to do it, they would have to be taken some where and processed. Then you'd have to have to probably have a really good cooler or freezer to take frozen fish to the market. check with them first before you spend any money, they are what stopped me.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 8:42PM
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I think aquaponics is really neat, and I've done a lot of research into it as well as built a few small attempts at systems...which all failed :( My understanding of aquaponics is that it is only commercially viable if you have free fish food. You could get some kind of garbage for free, like food waste or fresh manure, and feed that to worms, then feed the worms to your fish. You'd also get the bonus worm manure.

None of it is easy, though. If you could do everything it takes, you'd probably just be a worm farmer or a hydroponic grower, and make more money for less work.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Sandy, we just happened to have the State Board of Health at one of our vendor meetings. He said that he would have to research, but the vendor was allowed. Keep in mind, these are shrimp and are not frozen.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:32AM
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I'll have to look into the shrimp thing. My family isn't big on fish but we do like shrimp pretty well. I haven't seen any shrimp in aquaponics, but maybe someone is trying it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:21PM
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