Cage Culture Suggestions
Tech Talk 31
Cages may be the best method of fish culture in nonseinable water bodies. But there are peculiarities to cage culture that must be considered. As Bismarck said, "... it is better to learn from the mistakes of others."
- Seek help from people in your area who have successfully cage-raised the same species. Your State Aquaculture Extension Service is an excellent source of information.
- Your fish will be totally dependent on you for food and water quality. Still, no-wind periods are the worst without aeration.
- Build a cage that's easy to handle and harvest, and consider the possible need for sun shading.
- Consider feed waste potential and waste buildup below cages. Keep cage bottom at least one foot above lake bottom.
- Cage position is very important for water quality, feeding access, etc. Use an aerator or a current inducer for no-current periods.
- You may need to aerate the entire impoundment if it is, or will become, eutrophic as production (nutrient enrichment) continues.
- Inspect fish for mortalities, condition and, depending on where you are, loss to poachers!
- Inspect cages for turtle holes, overall condition, and biofouling (algae, bryozoans, invertebrates, etc.) that can restrict circulation.
- Be prepared for foul weather with heavy waves and strong currents. Also cloudy weather, plankton die-offs, overturns, etc.
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