Pisciculture or Fish culture is the process of breeding and rearing of fishes in ponds, reservoirs (dams), lakes, rivers and paddy fields. It is the farming of economically important fishes under controlled conditions.
Pisciculture helps in integrated rural development by generating employment and income to fishing community and fish farmers.
Nutritional value of fishes
- Cultivable freshwater and marine food fishes are highly nutritious, rich source of animal proteins and are easily digestible.
- They are rich in essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine, minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium and magnesium.
- Fat soluble vitamins A, D and water soluble B-complex vitamins like pyridoxine, cyanocobalamine and niacin are found in fishes.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) which are helpful in regulation of cholesterol are present in plenty in fishes and thus promote cardiac health.
In addition to providing food, most of the fishing industries yield a number of by-products of commercial importance. These processed byproducts are used for human consumption and also for other purposes. These include:
- Fish oil: It comprises of liver oil and body oil.
Liver oil of Cod, Tuna, Halibut and Shark are of great medicinal value and are rich in vitamin A, D and E.
Body oil is extracted from Sardines, Herrings, Salmons, Mackerels and Anchovies. They are used in industries for the preparation of lubricants, paints, varnishes and cosmetics.
b. Fish Meal
It is prepared from the wastes of fish oil or from whole fish and contains nutritents like protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. It is used as feed for cattle and poultry farming animals.
Other by-products obtained from fishing industry are fish flour, fish manure, fish silage, fish guano, fish sausage, fish glue and fish leather.
Types of fish culture practices
- Extensive fish culture: Culture of fishesin large areas with low stocking density and natural feeding.
- Intensive fish culture: Culture of fishesin small areas with high stocking density and providing artificial feed to increase production.
- Pond culture: Rearing of fishes in pondwater.
- Riverine fish culture: Rearing of fishes inlotic water.
- Dam culture (Culture in Reservoir):Culture of fishes in artificial man made constructed reservoirs.
- Lake culture (Culture in Lake): Rearingof fishes in lakes which are natural standing water bodies.
- Monoculture: Culture of single type offish in a water body. It is also called mono species culture.
- Polyculture: Culture of more than onetype of fish in a water body. It is also called composite fish culture.
- Integrated fish farming: It is the cultureof fishes along with agricultural crops
- Animal husbandry farming: Rearing of fish along with poultry, cattle, pig and ducks.
Types of ponds for fish culture
Fish farm requires different types of pond for the various developmental stages of fish growth. They are:
- Breeding pond: Healthy and sexuallymature male and female fishes are collected and introduced in this pond for breeding. The eggs released by the female are fertilized by the sperm and fertilized eggs float in water as frothy mass.
- Hatchling pits: The fertilized eggs aretransferred to hatching pits for hatching. Two types of hatching pits are hatcheries
- Nursery ponds: The hatchlings aretransferred from hatching pits after 2 to 7 days. The hatchlings grow into fry and are cultured in these ponds for about 60 days with proper feeding till they reach 2 – 2.5 cm in length.
- Rearing ponds: Rearing ponds are used toculture the fry. The fish fry are transferred from nursery pond to rearing ponds and are maintained for about three months till they reach 10 to 15 cm in length. In these rearing ponds the fry develops into fingerlings.
- Stocking pond: The stocking pond is alsocalled as culture pond or production pond. These ponds are used to rear fingerlings upto the marketable size. Before releasing the fingerlings, the pond is manured with organic manure and inorganic fertilizers.
Cultivable food fishes in India
Freshwater cultivable fishes: Indian major carps (Kendai) – Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, catfishes (Keluthi), Murrels (Veral) and Tilapia (Jilebi kendai) are cultured in freshwater.
Marine water cultivable fishes: Sea bass(Koduva), Grey mullet (Madavai) and Chanos chanos (Milk fish) are the fishes cultured in marine water.