The pros and cons of pond vs cage aquaculture
Over the past decade, production from capture fisheries has stagnated and declined.
Pond-based fish farming has dominated the aquaculture sector, while cage and pen culture systems have been relatively scarce. This is because most pond-based aquaculture initiatives require relatively low levels of capital to establish and farmers can opt to fertilize their ponds to supplement the feeding, unlike in cages where farmers have to buy expensive formulated feeds.
The initial cost of setting up cages is usually high, but the returns are rewarding because one can keep a large number of fish in a small area on the lake, cages hold multiple times the number of fish compared to ponds. Cage fish farming has become attractive because it reduces pressure on land use and the fish are in their natural habitat, where there is natural exchange of water, high productivity, ease of harvesting and monitoring.
Advantages of cage culture include the high stocking density, access to clean water hence less management required, predictable harvests and planned marketing of fish on order. Initially triangular BOMOSA cages were used by farmers. However, following high escape levels and interference by fisherman, most farmers transitioned bigger cylindrical or rectangular cages that could hold a lot more fish and provided room for better oxygen circulation.
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