Grass carp fish farming is not a new business idea. Culture of this fish began in the areas along the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers in the southern part of China. Although commercial grass carp fish farming started much later as compared to the common carp fish. According to historical records, commercial grass carp fish farming was closely related to the will of the current governor.
Today, commercial grass carp fish farming is very common and popular in many countries. But only some of these countries reported a production greater than 1000 tonnes. And those countries are Bangladesh, China, Iran, Laos, Russia and Myanmar.
Grass carp fish is actually a freshwater fish species which is native to China with a broad distribution from the catchment area of the Pearl River in southern China to that of the Heilongjiang River in northern China. But it is available and has been introduced to about 40 countries and there have been limited reports about the natural population occurring in those areas (for instance, a natural population exists in the Red River in Vietnam).
Today, various production systems are used for grass carp fish farming. The major system include semi-intensive and intensive culture in ponds, and pens and cages in open waters.
Commercial grass carp fish farming business has already been a profitable business in some countries and areas, especially in the South Asian countries. And it’s commercial production is becoming popular gradually.
How to Start Grass Carp Fish Farming
Starting grass carp fish farming is not too difficult. And the beginners can also raise them commercially. Here we are trying to describe more about starting commercial grass carp fish farming business.
First of all, you have to select a very good site for starting your grass carp fish farming business. The selected site must have to be free from noises and all types of pollution. And also ensure availability of full sun while selecting the site. You can also start raising grass carp fish in your existing pond.
Pond Construction & Size
For the beginner farmers, you have to construct a pond for starting grass carp fish farming business. Earthen or natural ponds are considered good for grass carp fish farming business. And having a pond of at least one acre is recommended for this business. Any type of smaller concrete or plastic tanks are not suitable for commercial production.
The grass carp fish are mainly fed on aquatic plants. So, you have to prepare the pond perfectly and have to ensure maximum aquatic plants production. For this purpose you have to sterile the pond first by applying lime. And then apply both organic and inorganic fertilizers into it for stimulating natural food production.
Contact with any of your nearest aquaculture specialist or any fisheries institute for more information regarding this. Because exact application doases of lime, organic and inorganic fertilizers depends on the farming intensity and inherent productivity.
Currently, artificial propagation is the major supply of seed for the culture of grass carp fish. Although natural seeds are still available in some rivers of China. The broodstocks used for artificial propagation are generally raised in captivity from seeds from the wild or from breeding stations where good natural stocks are maintained.
Rearing the Fingerlings
The grass carp fingerlings are not suitable for stocking directly into the main pond. So you have to raise them in the nursery pond first. And the fingerlings are generally raised in the nursery pond until they reach around 13-15 cm length.
Stocking in the Main Pond
The fingerlings become ready for stocking in the main pond when they reach around 13-15 cm body length. The grass carp fish is generally stocked in the pond with other carp fish species. And the stocking density of grass carp fish with other fish species can be 25,000 to 30,000 per acre.
The grass carp fish can be raised with both natural and commercial food. They are naturally fed on aquatic weeds and grasses, hence the name. They prefer relatively low fertility and their production is mainly limited by water quality. In case of feeding the fish with commercial feeds, the feeds are relatively low in protein and their raw materials include soybean cake, rapeseed cake and wheat bran. You can collect aquatic weeds from natural water bodies for feeding your grass carp fish.
Both selective and total harvesting are practiced for harvesting grass carp fish. Selecting harvesting is generally conducted in the early morning and marketed immediately. And total harvesting is carried out at the end of the culture period (several nettings are generally carried out before total drain-down of the pond). And all the fish are harvested at the end of the year, either for restocking or for marketing.
The grass carp fish is generally marketed live and fresh in the market. So try to send the fish in the market immediately after harvesting.
These are the common steps for grass carp fish farming business. Hope you have learned a lot from this guide! Good luck & may God bless you!