(fish farming international, July 2006)
“Raising Fish With No Feed”
AN ISRAELI consultant company has helped an Uzbekistan community farm fish without incurring the cost of feed by using a natural reservoir for cultivation instead of man-built ponds.
Galidi Co believes that creative, practical solutions should be used as much as possible in farming fish, especially in parts of the world where there is little to none investment funds available.
By farming in this style, the global shortage of fish can be alleviated.
“Making use of the planet’s natural water reservoirs – the earth being 75% water – enables us to breed fish at much lower costs than with conventional methods,” says Ofer Berzak of Galidi.
“Using the earth’s oceans, lakes and rivers lowers both infrastructure investment and the running costs of fish rearing. Our company encourages and recommends the use of other water reservoirs for the rearing of fish, in order to fulfil the worldwide demand for this healthy and cheap staple food.” In 2002 Galidi was invited to Uzbekistan as consultants regarding fish rearing ponds near the city of Nawai. The total area of the eight ponds is 120 hectares, and they are adjacent to a large irrigation lake 22,000 hectares – which fills with rainwater from the mountains and from the area in its vicinity.
The lake belongs to the state and was leased to the investor, the owner of the fishponds, for 20 years. “Upon examining the area of ponds and the price of fish on the almost non-existent market, we reached the conclusion that it would be impossible to make a profit out of rearing fish in the ponds,” says Berzak. The price of a kilo of fish on the market was US$1.00 to $1.50 whereas the cost of growing a kilo of fish was between $2.00 to $2.50.
“The solution we offered the investor was to spawn and wean the fish up to 50g in the pools, and then rearing them to a marketable size, 1-1.5 kg, in the lake without additional feed,” says Berzak.
“This solution enabled the investor to rear and harvest fish at a very low price, and then sell at the current market rates with a profit.”
He says that from experience with a similar environment, Galidi estimated that it was possible to populate the lake annually with 200 tons of fingerlings and harvest 3000 ton in return.
This would be done with four different species of fingerlings, so that each species would use a different niche in the lake ecosystem and they would balance each other out.
The reason for populating the lake with relatively big fingerlings, 50- 100g, is the presence of predator fish such as silurid in the lake.
The investor started work on the infrastructure – building the hatchery, renovating the ponds and remodelling the harvesting equipment for the ponds and the lake in 2003.
USAID joined the project in order to help finance it.
The project was based on five main steps:
_ Spawning _ Weaning to 50 grams in the ponds _ Populating the lake for rearing _ Harvesting the fish from the lake _ Packing and marketing The fingerlings were bought from the government hatchery near Tashkent in May of 2004, with the species used to populate the ponds being carp, silver carp, grass carp and big head.
By November – within six months – the fish were on average 50-100g and a total of 200 tons were used to populate the lake. In the spring of 2005 the hatchery built on the grounds of the project began to operate. The harvest started in the summer of 2005 and by the end of the year, 450 tons of 1.5- 3kg fish of the different species were harvested. In the autumn of 2005 the lake was again stacked, this time with 250 tons of four different species of fish, most of them carp.
Already at the beginning of this year, 400 ton were harvested and an additional 1100 ton are to be fished out by the end of the year, so that 2006 should yield 1500 ton of fish. The prospects are for 2500 tonnes in 2007 and 3000 tonnes in 2008. To summarize: this project in Uzbekistan is an additional example of the possibility of rearing fish in large quantities and without additional feed using nature’s infrastructure.
Today the areas of Nawai and Buchara have an abundance of fish for the local population, which was not the case in 2002 when this project was in the planning stage. Galidi recommends the use of other water reservoirs, as in this example, for the rearing of fish, in order to fulfil the world wide demand for this healthy and cheap, staple food. The company envisions itself as helping to feed growing world population by assisting in the rearing of fish in available water reservoirs around the world. www.galidi.co.il