Any mariculture project should start with a preliminary economic analysis.

Requisites: Land, water, capital, a market, and management skills are essential to successful fish farming. Knowledge of these requirements will help you to plan and develop your enterprise.

Elements include: 

  • Identifying a suitable species
  • Identifying the purpose of your operation (i.e. hatchery, growout )
  • Identifying a location or site
  • Finance
  • Scale of Operation
  • Permits and licences - in the different countries around the world legislation on mariculture and its enforcement vary widely
  • Equipment – cages, boats, feed cannons etc
  • Water supply and quality


Questions to be addressed are:

  • Is this a reasonable business proposition?
  • Do markets exist and are they stable?
  • Do they have the potential for further growth?
  • Do you need to lease a marine site?
  • Is a suitable site available?
  • Are you intending on developing a land-based business?
  • Will it be purchased or leased?
  • What are the relevant government regulations? 
  • What permits are required?
  • Has an Environmental Impact Assessment been undertaken?
  • Are stock animals readily available? 
  • What finance is available?
  • Is it adequate for both start-up and on-going purposes? 

Unlike onshore systems, offshore mariculture production comes about not just through the design and selection of a holding unit, and the placing of this unit in a particular location, but through the combination of a number of interacting factors.

Furthermore, choices for this combination of factors would usually be shaped by a single objective – profitable production.

Profitable production requires productivity, reliability, market focus and competitiveness over the periods for which investment decisions would need to be made.
Some practical advice:

1. Aquaculture requires hard work and commitment for success.
2. Recognize that fish are living animals and need to be treated as such.
3. Human resources, management skill, and a drive to succeed are essential.
4. Start small to reduce risk of loss while you are learning about aquaculture.
5. Grow a high-value high-quality product and provide good service.
6. Business experience and knowledge are needed.
7. Marketing your fish is where the money is made.
8. Aquaculture is a high risk business.
9. It takes a long time to make a profit in aquaculture.
10. Work only with a proven fish production technology.