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AGRICULTURE Report – October 22, 2002: Aquaculture - 2002-10-21

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Aquaculture is the production of food through the controlled growth and harvesting of plants and animals that live in water. Using low-cost equipment and simple methods, aquaculture can supply more protein-rich foods than traditional agriculture like farming.

One popular environment for aquaculture is small lakes or ponds surrounded by land, away from the ocean. Fish such as carp and tilapia are produced in this way.

In most areas of the world, twenty-five percent of the fish pond must be at least three meters deep. You can plant grass on the bottom of the pond. But you should remove all trees from the bottom and sides of the pond in order to keep the level of oxygen high enough for the fish. You should also remove all bushes and rocks. And you should remove all trees within nine meters of the edge of the pond. This is so that leaves will not fall into the pond. Leaves can use up a lot of oxygen that fish need. You should place a pipe at the bottom of the pond big enough for all the water to escape in about five days.

You can feed the fish many kinds of foods. These include cassava, sweet potatoes, banana and maize. Other foods include coffee and wastes from fruit-processing factories. Feed the fish only as much as they can eat in one day.

You harvest the fish by opening the pipe and permitting some of the water to escape. Then the larger fish can be caught by hand or with nets made from rope. There should be enough water left so that the smaller fish continue to live in the pond.

You can harvest the fish at any time, but it is best done in cool weather. The pond can also be dried at this time if necessary to fix any problems. Then the pond can be filled with water again and many new small fish can be added.

Aquaculture is popular around the world because there is usually no need for costly equipment. Also, you can know ahead of time how many fish will be harvested. Bad weather does not usually affect the harvest. However, good quality water is necessary and you must know how much of it is available at all times.

You can get more information about aquaculture from the group Volunteers in Technical Assistance. You can contact VITA through the Internet at its world wide web address w-w-w dot v-i-t-a dot o-r-g.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary Garriott.