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How to start a Fishery Business in Nigeria

In this article, info guide gives a detailed narrative on How to start a fishery in Nigeria, A fishery, otherwise known as aquaculture deals with the rearing of different kinds of fishes like catfish and mud fish by use of ponds for domestic and commercial purposes.

Fish just like any sea food is very rich in protein and micro nutrients, it constitutes about fourty one percent of the total animal protein intake thus the consumption of fish in Nigeria is very high and fishermen cannot meet up the demand, the rearing of fish by farmers reduces this deficit in the fish demand-supply gap by boosting supply for both consumption and export purposes.

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How to start a Fishery Business in Nigeria
A typical fish farm in Delta State, Nigeria – Photo Source: Pulse.ng

To meet the high demand for fish in Nigeria which is spiked by its high nutritional value and unique taste of fish delicacies, we will need over two million metric tons of fish but the total domestic fish supply is currently less than 0.7 million metrics.

This implies that we need to import fish massively to meet up with its demand no wonder Nigeria is ranked as the largest importer of frozen fish in Africa.

I believe that money spent on importing fish can be injected into domestic production to boost agriculture, reduce cost of fish, create jobs and reduce poverty.

How Profitable is Fish Farming in Nigeria?

Fish farming is a feasible, viable and profitable project even the food and agricultural organisation of the United Nations has classified it as the world fastest growing food production sector.

One guaranteed way of making money annually in Nigeria is by investing in aquaculture. With the right knowledge and practice you are sure of getting hundred percent return of your investment in fish farming.

To start a fish farm, you will have to invest as much money as possible depending on the size you want to start with, but it is advisable to start on a small scale before expanding as you gain experience because catfish farming is a major investment operation that needs careful consideration before start up. They are very many fisheries in Nigeria today that are doing quite well.

Opportunities in fish farming : Apart from selling fresh catfish, fish farmers can also dry the fish and sell it as smoked or dry fish which equally has a large demand.

You can make supplies to market women who retail fish; to hotels, eateries and restaurants, boarding houses and hostels, to people who grill and to homes.

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Read Also: How Profitable Is Fish Farming Business ?

How To Start Fish Farming in Nigeria

Plan: Write out a business plan that will guide on how much your investments will likely cost, expect challenges and how to surmount them. Find and study another fish farming business plan, use it as a guide in drawing your own plan.

Facts On Fish Farming

There are two divisions of catfish farming, that can be either operated separately or integrated into one process and these are the nursery fish farming and the grow out fish farming.

The grow out fish farming is dependent on the nursery because a farmer cannot grow fish without a nursery which involve the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched into little fishes known as fries.

The fries are then nurtured within a month into fingerlings which is the suitable size for grow out farming. The primary operation is in between the nursery and grows out operation and involves the nurturing of the four weeks within which they grow into post fingerlings, mini juveniles and juveniles.

These can be further nurtured for the next four to five months into grow out sizes or table sized fish suitable for sale and consumption.

Read Also: Cost of Starting a Fish Farm in Nigeria

Like any other form of animal husbandry, fish farming can be risky because fish is very sensitive to manage and a little slip or error will hinder the growth of your fish and even death which will lead to a huge loss.

Fish farming has no by products like poultry so there is no extra or alternative form of making profits outside selling the fish itself. We also have the issue of competitive sales between fishermen and fish farmers; fish from the sea tastes better than fish grow in ponds and the cost of rearing fish makes the price of pond fish high. Where there are a good number of fishermen in the market, the demand for pond fish maybe low.

Knowledge Required for Fishery in Nigeria

You start by acquiring knowledge on how to run your fish farm. Most entrepreneurs who go to fish farming are oblivious of practical knowledge on fishery; they simply hire experienced hands to manage their farms. I feel it is very important to gain knowledge on how to run your farm. Get professional training if possible and read endlessly on fishery; visit other farms to gain more knowledge.

Get the Required Fish Farming Equipment

To start a fish farm, you need a stable supply of water, construction of artificial fish ponds, fish feed machines, fish oil coater, water purifiers, fish feed machines etc.

Choose the Best Fish farming Location

Find at least half plot of land which is very suitable for an average fish farm but you can settle for something bigger if you can afford it.

Fishes do not constitute environmental nuisance so the land does not need to be in a remote area. You will need the location to be easily accessible to labor and market.

Construct your ponds with be services of an expert pond construction engineer to avoid mistakes and to meet specifications and construction requirements and provisions must be made for proper drainage.

Make provisions for constant and adequate water supply because this is the back bone of a fish farm, a natural source of water like the bore hole is always the most suitable because chemically treated water is not recommended for cultivation of fish.

So dig a bore hole and purchase over head tanks which must be connected to the ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to get into ponds as the need arises. Get your juvenile fish from another farm that supplies it or grow yours. But be sure you go for high yield species.

Read Also: How to Start Catfish Farming Business in Nigeria

Capital Needed to Start Fishery in Nigeria

You will need capital for labor, land, pond construction, equipment and all other operational costs. The cost of starting a fish farm is high; it is capital intensive when compared to poultry farming.

A small fish farm can be started with five hundred thousand naira and above while a bigger farm will require millions of naira for start up.

Business Registration and Licensing needed for fish farming in Nigeria 

Your farm needs a name for identification and business purposes. Inspectors from the agricultural and health sectors will visit your farm periodically to ensure that you meet up with health standards in Nigeria. You however, do not need a license to start up.

Marketing Tips for Fish Farmers in Nigeria 

You need to spread the word about your farm. Use all media mediums available to reach potential customers. Conquer your neighborhood by becoming the greatest and notable supplier and farmer of fish within your area.

Staffing and Management: Hire only knowledgeable and experienced staff. Livestock farming is sensitive; you will lose your fishes in a jiffy if your staff is ignorant. The efficiency of your staff determines the sustainability of your farm.

Benefits of Fish Farming in Nigeria

Fish farming is very profitable, with proper planning and management, a million naira invested in aquaculture will yield two million within seven months.

There are no environmental hazards involved in fish farming, you can set it up anywhere even in residential areas unlike piggery and poultry.

Fish sells faster than any other animal products in Nigeria and sometimes sell cheaper than meats, fish constitutes more than sixty percent of meat products and are high in low fat protein that is filled with omega 3 fatty acid and vitamins D and B2, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium.

You can sell and distribute imported fish feeds like ziegler gold and you can formulate local fish feeds and set up a fish feed mill.


If you launch into fish farming with all zest and zeal, there is no way you wont break-even. Fresh water fish is barely enough to meet demands, raising fish in artificial ponds is the best substitute and a stable income generator.

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Lami Ogar

Lami is from cross river state and holds a B.sc in accounting from a Nigerian university. Writing for her is a form of detoxification, she has written several articles for Essence magazine and runs political commentary on twitter. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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