Perch Fish Farm
Perch species are native in some American lakes, particularly in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. The popular yellow perch is usually farmed using the pond culture method. Due to its popularity, perch production has become a hundred-million-dollar-industry in the U.S.
Are you interested in starting a farm that would supply a part of the country’s demand for the fish?
The silver and yellow perch are the two species of perch that are widely raised commercially. The silver perch is a freshwater fish native in Australia. The yellow perch, differentiated from the “ocean perch” and the “rock perch,” is native in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. Yellow perch has a white, flaky, mildly sweet meat. It can grow up to 10 inches in length and 16 oz. in weight. In the North Central Region, the growing season for fingerlings starts in April and end in October or November. Perch production in the U.S. is valued at several hundred million dollars with Wisconsin and Ohio topping the list of states with the largest production of the fish.
Perch Farming - Pond Culture Method
Perch farms usually use natural reproduction to get young perch. This method is also called the pond culture method wherein male and female broodfish are stocked in ponds and allowed to spawn in suitable substrates. The broodstock or fertilized perch eggs are usually taken from the wild, although some also use those that have been reared in captivity. Perch larvae are then stocked into fertilized production ponds where they are weaned from natural diet to formulated diet until they are harvested. The natural reproduction method is considered a simple and economical way to reproduce the fish.
Perch Farming - Tank System Method
Researches are also being done to refine technologies using hormone induced reproduction in tank systems. The tank system method is more expensive to perform because it requires considerable investment on equipment and higher production costs. To control the conditions inside tank systems, pumps and aerators are needed. In order for these to run, there should be constant supply of electricity. What makes the tank system better than the natural method is it allows a possible shorter production period. Both processes are used to raise perch for commercial distribution in the country.
For the natural process, one would need a piece of land for the pond. The pond should have a well for its water supply, a ditch and a levee. As basis, a 5,000 lb. perch production would need about 1.5 acres of pond, and one of each well, ditch and levee. Bigger ponds would need an additional number of these. For the water system, there should be a drainpipe, drain/valve, and pump. For the operation, there should be an electrical system, boat, monitoring and test equipment, aerator, feeder, feed storage, and scale. To harvest the fish, there should be seine nets, fish baskets, coolers, and truck to deliver frozen fish.
For resources on perch rearing, visit the Web site of the University of Wisconsin and search for “perch.”
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