'If you give a person a fish, they will have food for one day. But if you teach them to fish, they will have food for the rest of their life.' ANCIENT CHINESE PROVERB

This proverb is a very well known one. In some parts of the world – particularly communities living near lakes and large rivers – fishing is part of their traditional way of life. In many other parts of the world, fish farming is a recent idea – maybe even a totally new one. Bob Hansford helpfully compares fish farming to all other types of farming. In this issue we look at small scale fish farming – in ways that would be easy for anyone to try out on a small piece of land. If the idea of fish farming (or aquaculture, as it is sometimes called) is new to you, we hope this issue will give you enough confidence to try it out for yourself. The resources page gives details of further information, resource centres and training. You may also find your local department of agriculture or fisheries very helpful.

If fish farming is not new to you, maybe this issue will be useful in training and enthusing other farmers. In a world where there is a growing shortage of food, especially protein food, not only do fish provide a valuable source of protein and vitamins, but there are benefits to crop growing, too, from combining fish and crop farming – as we learn from ITAG’s experience. Raising fish or fingerlings can also be a useful source of income.

Fish farming is well suited to community groups. Building the pond is a lot of work – much easier when shared. Harvesting the fish is also fun if a community group are all involved.

by Isabel Carter