Tilapia Fish Farming Harvesting
Tilapia culture is dominated by small-scale rural farms, especially in developing countries, and most of the production is consumed in local areas.
There is no specific harvesting method for farmed tilapia. The information available on tilapia harvesting methods is also very limited. Moreover, polyculture with other aquatic species makes it more difficult to adopt specific harvesting techniques for tilapia. For these reasons, small-scale farmers in different regions may adopt different, but simple, harvesting techniques.
Harvesting methods depend on pond size, culture systems and levels of technology applied. For example, small-scale tilapia farmers in many parts of Africa and Asia cannot easily get harvesting nets and other equipment required for complete harvesting of their ponds.
To overcome this problem, many farmers adopt partial harvesting techniques, using locally available gear. Large-scale tilapia producers adopt more advanced harvesting tools, such as winches, because they generally prefer batch harvesting. Partial harvesting is usually designed to remove large fish and provide smaller fish with more space for growth.
Yet many questions regarding this system remain unanswered:
(i) Is this system preferable to batch harvesting methods?
(ii) At what size and harvesting intervals should the fish be harvested?
(iii) How much fish (as a per cent of total density) should be harvested each time?
(iv) Should harvested fish be replaced with new fish?
(v) What is the best fish size that will replace the harvested portion?
(vi) What are the best harvesting methods for this system? To the extent that these questions are not answered, the system may not lead to the outputs that the farmers hope to get and may also fail to increase overall yield. Therefore, finding answers to these questions is necessary in order to evaluate and improve partial harvesting methods.
The limited information available may suggest the use of partial harvest as a more cost-effective harvesting method than using single harvest techniques. Nitithamyong et al. compared partial harvest and batch harvest of Nile tilapia reared in monoculture systems or in integration with pigs.
Marketable-size fish were harvested monthly (multiple harvest) from one monoculture system and from the integrated system, while another monoculture system was harvested only once at the end of the study. Total fish production from the monoculture and integrated systems using the multiple harvesting techniques was higher than that from the monoculture system with a single harvest.
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