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How do I Start an Aquaculture Business?

To start an aquaculture business, a company will need a business plan.
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  • Written By: M. Rosario
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2015
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The aquaculture industry provides a sustainable supply of marine products for an ever-increasing demand. It can be a lucrative enterprise, provided the business is carefully planned out. To start an aquaculture business, you will need a business plan and knowledge about the market and industry.

Creating a sound business plan should be one of your primary goals before starting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the industry. A business plan typically includes which type of product you plan to to produce, how the business will be funded, and its operations and marketing processes. Market viability should be studied to make sure that the aquaculture business will have enough customers to gain profit. Restaurants and supermarkets are two common buyers of aquaculture products. A proper marketing research would measure the demand for the chosen product, potential for business entry and growth, and competitor strength.

Producers are often clustered in areas that support a particular product's growth. As a result, the market in these areas can become extremely competitive. Find a business niche that you can cater to give you a bigger market share. It is also a good idea to build relations with local buyers to create a customer base.

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Environmental conditions frequently affect species selection. Decide whether the business will engage in freshwater or marine aquaculture. Fish farming is common among freshwater aquaculture, with catfish, trout, and tilapia being the popular breeds raised. Marine aquaculture, meanwhile, normally breed saltwater fish, shellfish, and some types of aquatic plants.

After determining which species to breed, you should then settle where the aquaculture farm will be placed. Make sure that the climate, soil, and water conditions are adequate for the species' survival. Constructing a pond generally provides better environmental control, which can be vital for species that are sensitive to sudden environmental changes. Building cages on natural bodies of water, on the other hand, is usually more economical.

Some species can only be bred by licensed producers. Zoning and environmental permits are normally required for anyone engaging in an aquaculture business. Check with your local authorities to make sure you have obtained all necessary permits and licenses to make sure that your business operates in line with the government regulations.

Growing or breeding typically involves extensive knowledge about a species' biology, habitat requirements, and lifecycle. Consult a fisheries expert to assist in the technical aspect and to design the farm layout if you are new in the industry. There are also seminars and short courses that cover the essentials in having an aquaculture business.

A full scale aquaculture business usually requires significant monetary and labor investment. After drafting a business plan and making the necessary research, make sure that you are financially and mentally prepared for the business. You can talk to a bank representative or find an investor to raise capital if needed.

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bythewell
Post 3

@browncoat - I would also caution people not to enter into this lightly. You need to either understand the product or the business and make sure you have experts to fill in the gaps, because any business dealing with this kind of product is going to need to do everything right the first time.

If the water quality is off or the fish die, there aren't going to be any second chances unless you fund them yourself.

browncoat
Post 2

@Mor - It's already a fairly lucrative business to be in if you know what you're doing when it comes to the basics. I have a few friends in the industry and it seems like it's one of the more stable food producing ventures you can start, which means providing the equipment for it is also a relatively safe bet.

The only thing I would be cautious about is that aquaculture, like any business that deals with live animals, is going to be subject to a lot of safety, environmental and welfare regulations and it's going to vary considerably from region to region.

You can't be profitable if you've been shut down completely, so make sure you've got all of that set up properly before you start.

Mor
Post 1

I think that aquaculture is going to become more popular among families as time goes on and the gear becomes easier to set up. Fish is expensive to buy and it's well known for being a healthy and nutritional food. And aquaculture equipment, particularly for aquaponics (where you combine water fauna and flora), is coming down in price.

I think part of the problem is that people don't like the idea of killing fish, but they are far more likely to get over that than keeping any other kind of animal for meat.

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