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Viable fish farming

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Commercial fish farming can provide a high return investment if properly done as it takes six months to a year for the fish to reach the desired market weight of around 500 grams to a kilogram.
This was revealed by Mmadinare Fish Hatchery Wild Life Scout Mootshe Motoma.
Motoma who is employed by the Francistown Department of National Parks & Wildlife said farmers can integrate fish farming into other activities to create additional income and improve water management.
Speaking to Voice Money during the just ended BOCCIM Northern Trade Fair held in Francistown, Motoma said the Mmadinare Fish Hatchery (MFH) was commissioned in 2008 to supply a day to three month-old (fish) fingerlings to prospective fish farmers for stocking in community or Water Utilities corporation dams.
When fully operational the Hatchery would serve as a demonstration and education centre on fish farming to different user groups including students, farmers, individuals or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“When ready for the market, farmers can sell fish fresh, frozen, smoked, salted or dried. The introduction of fish farming in new areas of Botswana would encourage people to add them as nourishing component of their diet,’’ he said.
On constructing fish ponds, Motoma said farmers should site them on land with gentle slopes to allow easy drainage; soils such as loam or clay with good water retention capacities; and adequate good quality water resources should also be considered.
Soil with high water retention properties are essential as the bottom of the pond should not be sealed off with cement to allow controlled seepage.  The sites should be cited next to road, telecommunications and electricity grid networks, to facilitate mechanisation, transport and easier market access. When completed, the pond should range in depth from 0.8 at the shallow end to 1.5 metres at the deep end for easy water drainage and fish harvesting. ”
Water quality and monitoring are extremely essential since it helps maintain good water quality in production ponds. Failure to do so, results in poor fish growth and high feed conversion or even total loss of the entire fish stock in the pond.