Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the farming of water creatures for human consumption. You will learn about production systems, other species, feeding, harvesting and health of fish and how to set up an aquaculture venture.

Course Code: BAG211
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Farm fish and Crayfish in Fresh Water

  • Small or large scale
  • Commercial production or Sustainability Farming
  • Commence study anytime; work at your own pace  
 
As global fish resources come under increasing pressure, this is an industry that continues to grow rapidly.
 
Aquaculture can be:
  • In salt water or fresh water (See our mariculture course for salt water production)
  • As small as you like (Grow fish for your own food in a pond at home)
  • As large as you want (Commercial enterprises might be an intensive half acre or hundreds of acres
  • Combined with other farming (eg. Aquaponics)
Aquaculture is the farming of water creatures for human consumption. This subject is concerned with the culture and care of fresh water aquatic animals and focuses on Trout, Barramundi, Bass, Marron, Red Claw and the Yabbie. You will also learn about production systems, other species, feeding, harvesting and health of fish as well as set up of an aquaculture venture.
 
FISH FARMING IS A BOOMING INDUSTRY
Demand for fish is growing much faster than supply. This course can provide a starting point for a lifelong career, or a very profitable business.
 
"The course is suitable for students looking to enter the aquaculture industry who wish to gain a greater knowledge and a qualification in order to promote their career prospects." Marius Erasmus - B.Sc.Agriculture, B.Science (Wildlife), M.Sc.Agriculture  

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction To Aquaculture
    • Scope and nature of freshwater aquaculture
    • Resources, references, organisations around the world
    • Equipment and material suppliers
  2. Production Systems - EP and IP
    • Open, semi closed and closed systems
    • Extensive production
    • Intensive production
    • Water containment: earth, concrete, wood, brick, stone, fibre-glass, liners, etc
    • Dams and water storage: siting, site
  3. What Species To Farm
    • Selection criteria
    • Climate
    • Water resources
    • Finance
    • Scale of operation
    • Other resources: manpower, knowledge, support services, etc.
    • Market demand and access
    • Ecological considerations
    • Risk considerations
    • Review of different fish: we review many fish and other species suited to farming in Australia,the UK and other countries), including:
    • Trout
    • Rainbow trout
    • Brown trout
    • Bass
    • Catfish
    • Carp
    • Cod
    • River blackfish
    • Marron
    • Algae
  4. Trout
    • Three main trout species
    • Farming trout
    • Water
    • Determining flow in source water
    • Water temperature
    • Water dissolved oxygen
    • Stocking rates for production pools
    • Spawning trout
    • Checking the fish
    • Stripping technique
    • Fertilisation of ova
    • Hatching ova
    • From hatch to free swimming stage
    • Feed
    • After free swim stage
  5. Barramundi
    • Industry perspective
    • Breeding and growth rates
    • Induced breeding; hormone injection
    • Growth
    • Fry management and after care
    • Grow out
    • Pond rearing for larvae
    • Barramundi diseases and parasites
  6. Bass
    • Varieties: Australian bass, American loudmouth, Smallmouth
    • Habitat requirements: temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH
    • Natural spawning cycle
    • Controlled spawning
    • Harvesting
  7. Freshwater Crayfish
    • Scope and nature of crustacean aquaculture
    • Marron and Yabbie
    • Conditions: water, temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, organic loading, water clarity, pod size
    • Initial breeding stocks
    • Production potential
    • Stocking rates
    • Breeding
    • Growth
    • Feeding
    • Composts for Marron feeding
    • Red Claw
    • Yabbie
    • Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
  8. Setting Up A Fish Farm
    • Land and water
    • Water requirements
    • Extensive production dams
    • Intensive production pools and raceways
    • Cages
    • Biological filtration systems
    • Filter efficiency
    • Clearing turbid water in dams
    • Protecting fish
    • Improving genetic quality of fish
    • Economics of establishing and running an aquaculture farm
    • Financial management
    • Financial institutions
    • Better planning
    • Economics
    • What to plan for
    • Production
    • Marketing
  9. Fish Foods & Feeding
    • Scope and nature
    • Pelleted feed
    • Live feed
    • Brine shrimp
    • Daphnia
    • Worms
    • Night lights
    • Fishmeal
    • Oil meals
    • Fish food production
    • Beef heart
    • Legumes
    • Seafood and vegetable mix
    • Earthworm and compost production
  10. Harvesting
    • Introduction
    • Harvesting techniques: seine nets, gill nets, traps, long lines, funnel trap, flyke trap, etc
    • Fish pumps
    • Mechanical graders
    • Fish health management
    • Review of diseases: salmonids, barramundi, trout, carp, etc

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain different aquaculture production systems.
  • Explain the cultural requirements of different types of fish suitable for aquaculture.
  • Explain cultural practices for freshwater crayfish.
  • Explain different factors affecting the vigour of animals in an aquaculture farm.
  • Explain methods, including feeding and harvesting, used to manage freshwater animal populations.
  • Develop informed management decisions for an aquaculture enterprise.

What You Will Do

  • List the components of an aquaculture production system.
  • Compare extensive production systems with intensive production systems.
  • Assess the production systems used in three different aquaculture enterprises.
  • Describe a successful aquaculture production system seen by the learner.
  • List freshwater fish suitable for aquaculture in the learner's locality.
  • List saltwater fish suitable for aquaculture in the learner's locality.
  • Describe the requirements for different commonly grown freshwater fish, including: Trout, Barramundi, Bass.
  • Describe the requirements of one type of salt water fish which has commercial potential for farming at a latitude the same as the learner's locality.
  • Distinguish, by labelling unlabelled diagrams, between visual characteristics of different freshwater crayfish, including: Marron, Red claw, Yabbie
  • Describe the cultural practices for different freshwater crayfish, including: Marron, Red claw, Yabbie.
  • Explain how water quality may affect production in an aquaculture system.
  • Explain different methods of treating water in aquaculture, including: Filtration, Aeration.
  • Develop a list of criteria for selecting a site suitable for a specified freshwater aquaculture purpose.
  • Explain how varying stocking rates can affect the condition of a specified type of animal in aquaculture.
  • Compare the potential affects on aquaculture species, of different methods of containing water, including: Ponds constructed with liners, an earth dam, concrete tanks, flowing water, still water
  • Compare various methods of feeding commercial species, including fish and crayfish, with reference to the type of food and the way it is delivered to the animals.
  • Explain the importance of correct feed to the success of a specified aquaculture enterprise.
  • Compare three different aquaculture feeds which are available commercially, with reference to: composition, appearance, appropriate applications.
  • Compare different harvesting techniques with reference to: equipment required, time required, damage to animal.
  • Describe how to construct different types of water storage facilities, including: ponds constructed with liners, an earth dam, concrete tanks.
  • Prepare a detailed management system for one species suitable for aquaculture, including details of: breeding, rearing, feeding. harvesting, marketing.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of aquaculture with those of two other types of agricultural enterprises.
  • Compile a list of forty different resources in the industry including: information sources, equipment suppliers, materials suppliers.
  • Analyse aquaculture marketing systems, on both a national and international level.
  • Evaluate the marketability of two different specified types of aquaculture produce.
  • Evaluate the viability of a proposed, specified aquaculture venture.

Where to Grow Fish


Some farmers use man made dams, ponds or tanks; while others utilize naturally occurring bodies of water
Obviously costs can be high if you need to build something to hold the water; but these situations can also be built so that there is a greater control, and production per acre can be much higher.

Farming in Cages

Intensive culture can also be done using floating or standing cages. Floating cages can be used efficiently in deep dams where there is a good flow of water through the cages to keep the water fresh. Protection against storm damage is important.

The cages used in America and Europe (particularly in the fiords of Scandinavia) are soft anchovy mesh bags held at the water surface by light metal frames on buoys. Cages are often made of a light metal frame covered with anchovy netting. Some farmers use chicken mesh covered cages.

In one case in Carolina, floating cages were efficiently used to grow on rainbow trout of 4‑6 months old to harvest size. Seven cages of 7 x7 x3 m were stocked with 5000 trout each. The fish were fed 3% of their body weight every 24 hours. Demand feeders were used to administer the feed which reduced the labour component. It was calculated that only 2 farm workers would be needed to service 20 such cages.

Cages can also be standing on the substrate of a shallow dam or river impoundment. Rigid cages are necessary as netting ones will not stand vertical in the water without suitable support.

An interesting cage cleaning system was that 10% of the fish (in this case rainbow trout) in a cage were replaced with carp of about 1 kg each. These efficiently kept the cage netting clear of algae and other growths and so ensured a good circulation of water through the cage.

Feeding of caged fish needs special attention. Feed must be given at a rate that the fish can use it efficiently. Over feeding will result in the uneaten feed being lost to the fish when it passes beyond the boundaries of the cage. Continuous excessive feeding result in the fouling (contamination) of the water. One producer lost a good number of fish when he over fed his cages, even though they were installed in a large dam.
 

Aquaculture has Huge Potential

There are more people on earth today than ever, and human populations continue to grow. At the same time, available land to grow food keeps shrinking. It takes little to realize that the only way we can grow more food with less land is to either grow it more intensively, or grow it in the oceans, rivers and lakes that are largely unused for farming.

Fish farming (for food) is generally structured within 3 main categories:

  1. The large producing companies that are active on a national and international basis – suppliers of Multiple Retail Stores, strong link to processed products.

  2. The medium-size company – often family-owned – could be grouped under a cooperative structure or supplies processors/stores directly.

  3. The small family company that has limited production capacity and only sells locally.

Additional to this basic structure are hatcheries and farms that supply fry or juvenile fish to the above and may also supply fish for restocking. This structural diversity contributes partially to problems faced in the marketplace. Many fish farming products remain seasonally influenced - a situation that is further complicated by the geographic locations of both production and markets for different products

The vast majority of the world’s small-scale aquaculture farms are also agriculture farms. This is especially true for developing countries, were fish culture is done to produce protein foods to feed the farmer and its family, or small country communities. This is not surprising because aquaculture requires land and water   and farmers world wide, control most of the area suitable for aquaculture.

Aquaculture has grown into a very profitable business for large operations farming salmon and trout, and a few other selected species. In Mediterranean countries and other areas with shallow water coastal lagoons, aquaculture has developed strongly, even if fisheries are not as profitable as salmon culture. 


Where Might this Course Lead?

Some students are already involved in aquaculture before they start studying, and this course helps them to explore and improve their knowledge and skills.
For others, this course can be the beginning of something new and exciting in their life, opening their eyes to business or employment opportunities they may not have fully seen previously.
For people on small farms or attempting to improve their food sustainability on even an average house property; aquaculture can offer a way of reducing food bills, and improving the freshness and quality of food in their families diet.

Whatever your purpose for studying aquaculture, this course can help you.

 
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand

Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Maria Schmitz Fontes

PhD (Marine Science), MSc (Environmental Engineering), BA Hons (Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biochemistry)

Maria has extensive experience in Environmental Science working in the private and public sectors. She has 6 years of experience teaching graduate and post-graduate students subjects as Marine Pollution, Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Methods in Aquatic Science and Benthic Ecology. She has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also coordinated an innovative project in bioenergy production using simple-cheap methods to isolate microbes in laboratory. She has collaborated with scientists of Climate Change Cluster Group from University of Technology Sydney and has current interests in areas such as: sustainability and clean energy.

Gareth Pearce

B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Gareth has over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in a variety of colleges and universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Universities of Melbourne and Bristol, having previously graduated in Agricultural Science and gained a PhD in Livestock Behaviour and Production. He also has post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.

Robert Browne

B.Sc., PhD

Robert’s science employment has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis, and has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as Research Officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.

Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, Robert is establishing a sustainability project with a research facility based in the region of a coastal village in Belize.

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