Types of Fishes In Nigeria
Fish is water food. Fish are water animals, just as chicken are land animals. That is a basic self-explanatory definition to save us time and space. What benefits can we gain from the consumption of fish?
Fish is a healthy, protein-rich, and delicious food with low fatty oils and calories. Fish, when eaten regularly can amply provide the requirement of animal protein in the diet of an adult man which is computed at about 12 kilograms every year per person.
The goodness of fish has not gone unnoticed by the world’s peoples and cultures because fish has grown to become a regular feature of dining tables of peoples in all corners of the world, even in desert areas, where there are no large bodies of water, and therefore no native species of fish.
But then the human population has increased exponentially, and with this growth has come a significant demand for fish, not only as a delicacy but as an important food source. This demand has come over-fishing, which has resulted in the significant depletion of fish populations across a large number of species, and across many water bodies including oceans, rivers, and seas. With this present situation, fish farming looks like the only way out for humanity. This provides an opportunity for profit.
Just think of it this way: if all the oceans cannot provide enough to meet the demand for fish, nobody in the world can do so. And if nobody can meet the demand, that means that fish will continue to be expensive. Yes, that is what this article is all about,
Types of Fishes In Nigeria
There are well over 200 types of fish that can be found in Nigeria; ranging from micro-fish species to fish as big as yam tubers.
So now that we have known what makes a good type of fish for cultivation, the question is what are the good types of fish for cultivation in Nigeria? In the paragraphs below, we discuss exactly that.
This is without any doubt the most popular species of fish for the aquaculture business in Nigeria, because of the popularity and demand of the breed of fish. In the Nigerian market, they are also called ‘Point and Kill,’ because they are regularly on the menu of restaurants that have live ones on display, and invite customers to point the fish of their choice, which is then killed and prepared for consumption instantly. Beyond that, Catfish are the most common fisheries products used in African meals. But most importantly we must mention that ease of cultivation is a core factor that makes most aquaculture farmers focus on growing catfishes instead of other breeds or types of fish.
Tilapia is the second most popular type of fish in Nigeria. It is a core ingredient in many Nigerian soups and dishes where it usually appears in the dried or fried form. This is a fish that occupies native status in Nigerian waters, and it is found not only in rivers and streams but in small swamps and natural ponds. Although the fish can generally take care of itself, aquaculturists feed them never the less and enjoy the fact that they grow to a much larger size to that which you can find in the swamps.
In order to raise these fish for the aquaculture business, all you need is fresh water in a shallow pond. The fact that these fishes grow rapidly and tolerate high stocking densities with even poor water quality makes them a lucrative breed for fish farmers to grow because farmers spend less with this breed, and make more money.
Salmons or mackerel (which is commonly referred to as “Titus” in Nigeria) is a freshwater species of fish that usually migrate to the ocean to spend adulthood, and return to freshwaters to reproduce. While they are mostly harvested in the wild, they are also grown in fish farms. They involve significantly higher cost to raise but there is a good market for the fish and so, in the end, they will spell profits for the farmer. Furthermore, this fish can be sold to exclusive customers including high-end restaurants and hotels.
But when it comes to raising fish for commercial reasons there are some things that must be put into consideration. Let us explain what makes a good fish species that you can culture for profit.
Profitable fish – The fish species should have the following characteristics:
- Have well-known culture requirements: you are in this for money. You cannot afford to go about this by trial and error. Therefore, you must choose a fish species that has been certified by the pioneers in the business, and has a proven track record.
- Be adaptable to many types of culture systems: Let’s say experience technical difficulties for some time. Surely that should not spell the end of your business. Choosing an adaptable fish type can save you an unwarranted headache.
- Exhibit rapid growth to a large maximum size: this is the bottom-line of the whole article. You feed the fish and they get big and fat in a few weeks so that you can sell them and get money. Pay attention to this, it is very important.
- Be tolerant of crowding and high-density conditions: A good fish type should do well in crowded spaces. This is because the ponds are going to be crowded.
- Exhibit high survival i.e. low mortality rates: In some fish species, you find that only half the population of fry (seed or small fish which are to be cultured are called fry) make it to adulthood. No matter the technical term that is used to explain this the fact is that they are just not hardy enough. The solution: choose hardy fish species.
- Be easy to handle, harvest, and transport: Believe it or not, some types of fish are more feisty than others. Handling them, therefore, is more difficult and time-consuming. Why go for these types of fish when there are more docile species.
- Be resistant to disease and parasite infestations: A good type of fish species will be hardy as we have mentioned above, hardiness must also include the ability to outlive parasites and disease.
- Not cannibalistic or territorial: In the ocean or rivers, fish eat fish. But in a fish pond, that is utterly unacceptable. Every fish in the pond is money to the owner, and so the species that you choose must not be the one that eats its fellow fish.
- Be readily available like eggs, fingerlings, and juveniles: Some fish farmers are specialists in raising young for the fisheries market. If they do not readily have the species in the market, then it is not a good type of fish.
- Have a high market demand: People must like the fish, and it must be tasty. Some fish are in higher demand than others because they are sweeter than others.
- Exhibit high feed conversion rates: As we mentioned earlier when you spend money on feeding the fish you must get value for your money. By value we mean money. This can only happen if the fish grow on time and with minimal feed expended.
- Have a long shelf life: When the fish are harvested they should keep well, and for a long time without spoiling. This is an important feature of a fish that will keep customers happy and coming back to you for more product.
- Be easy to process: Some fish are too bony and difficult to process after harvesting. These are obviously not good types of fish to cultivate for money.
So let us now look at some information about fish farming.
Aquaculture, also known as aqua-farming or fish farming, is not just the farming of fish, but also the farming of aquatic organisms such as crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic plants. But it goes without saying that fish is the primary business of the fish farmer.
Fish farming, therefore, is a process of raising fish commercially in tanks, ponds, or other artificial bodies of water for the purpose of producing food. It is a profitable business that’s widespread across various parts of Nigeria. As mentioned earlier; demand for fishery products can never be satiated. This makes fish farming one of the most lucrative agricultural business segments to venture into. So what kind of fish can you raise in Nigeria?
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