"IF you give a person a fish, he will
have food for one day. But if you teach
him to fish, he will have food for the rest
of his life." This ancient Chinese
proverb serves as the motto for a group
called Tear Fund - a UK-based NGO.
The latest issue of their journal
Footsteps, offers innovative' ways of fish farming.
Like crop farming, fish farming.
requires land in the form of a pond and
seeds in the form of fingerlings or finger-sized baby fish. Fish food serves as
the fertiliser and growing fish requires as
much care as any crop.
Ponds can, be of two types -
contour ponds built in naturally sloping land and dug out ponds built on
flat land. The ideal site for a pond would
be one with a reliable water source,
but soil with water retention capacity
will also do. For family purpose,
several small-sized ponds of about
150 sq m are recommended. A sloping bottom surface would ensure
drainage of the entire water at the
time of harvesting, which can be
difficult in larger ponds.
The height of the pond above the
water surface should be about 30 cm
with gently sloping and compacted
sides. The shallow side is reserved for
the inlet pipe which has a screen on one
end to prevent the fish from escaping.
The overflow pipe, also screened, is laid
out in the bank wall on the deep side. To
protect the pond walls from eroding and
adding mud into the pond, grass is
grown on the banks.
Small rocks should cover the pond
bottom, where the inlet pipe pours
water, to prevent it from sinking in. The
pond is filled with water two weeks
before the stocking of fish. In case the
pond bottom is not watertight, it can be
sealed with the help of artificial linings
of polyethylene, rubber or cement. As
these linings are expensive, gleying and
clay lining offer a cheaper alternative.
For gleying, the pond is first dug and
cleared of rocks and stones and the surface compacted. Then a layer of manure,
preferably pig manure, is laid out. ' This
two to three cm thick layer of manure is covered with another layer of fresh
grass cuttings or finely chopped banana
leaves. This is topped with a layer of soil
and stamped down into place by feet.
The soil layer allows air exchange to
take place, which assists in the biological process of gleying occurring below.