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Aquaculture -- the raising of fish and fish feed -- has been practiced
in various forms in Western Canada for more than half a century. Prior to the 1970's the
world protein shortage and raising prices for fish products created widespread interest in
the industry, particularly among farmers.
In 1973 the Product Development Section of Alberta Agriculture
commissioned a consulting firm to study the potential for aquaculture in Alberta. The
study concentrated on different systems of raising rainbow trout and their application to
Alberta. It concluded that a net return of $1,266 (total annual cost of production) was
needed to break even when loose rearing 10,000 trout. With a gross return of $6,000
breaking even was not a concern. Profit from cage rearing and raceway rearing 110,000
trout was 21% and 23% as a percentage of sales, respectively. In 1973 game fish farming
was a profitable business. This study provides a great overview for 1973, but a recent
study is needed.
This study is an effort to provide an overview for aquaculture in
Alberta for the 1990's. It will attempt to illustrate that raising rainbow trout can be a
profitable and viable business. Whenever someone spends capital for a particular project,
he does so for a profitable return.
Alberta supports at least four government hatcheries located near
Coldlake, Calgary, Coleman and Caroline. There are a number of game fish farms abroad
Alberta. In 1995 there were approximately 50-60 commercial and 2500-3000 private
(including production and recreational ponds) sites. Wayne Wood Fresh Fish (Edmonton) and
other slaughter plants near Lac La Biche, Calling Lake and Slave Lake process fish.
Currently fish are processed at $1.10/kg ($0.50/lb.).
Markets for freshwater fish for human consumption are well established
in both Canada and the United States. The demand for fish will continue as the world's
fishery industry continues to deplete the ocean's supply. In 1972 Canadian fish farmers
sold nearly 486.4 thousand kg (1.07 million pounds) of fish. About 72.2% of Canadian sold
fish was sold for human consumption and that nearly 11% of this was produced in Alberta's
'pot hole' lakes. In the United States per capita consumption of fish has substantially
increased from about 5 Kg (11 pounds) in 1968 to 7Kg (15.4 pounds) in 1986. While in
Canada, the amount of food dollars spent by a household on fish, increased by 18% from
1974 to 1984. Canada's fish consumption reached 4.5 kg/year/capita (10-11pounds) in 1976
and 2.25 kg (5 pounds) on the prairies. One Western Canadian wholesaler of freshwater fish
located here in Alberta had experienced a 260% increase in business since opening in 1987.
Their annual sales nearly reached $1 million in 1990. This clearly indicates the
remarkable growth in the freshwater fish industry in our prairie province, Alberta.
In 1972 western producers obtained $2.75/Kg ($1.25/pound) for whole
dressed (gutted and cleaned) trout). In 1990, prices for whole dressed trout were $4.50/Kg
($2.00/pound) sold to large distributors, while the prairie market experienced high demand
for pansize trout pricing $5.00/Kg ($2.25/pound) to the retail market. Billingsgate Fish
Company (Edmonton) Ltd. (1995) sell trout for nearly $11.00/kg ($5.00/pound).
Trout can be marketed in four different ways:
- selling to a wholesaler
- selling direct to local individuals and establishments
- or by running a 'U-fish' type operation (pond operations)
Deciding which will be the best for your particular operation may be
determined by such factors as:
- number of trout raised
- proximity to a population base
- other operation in the area
- the estimated final market weight of the trout.
Brokering fingerling trout is a profitable and relatively easy method of
entering the rainbow trout rearing business. A broker essentially purchases fingerlings to
stock local ponds and tanks. Purchasing trout by the 10,000s reduces the price per fish
enabling the broker to buy cheap trout. He now has the ability to add a price mark up to
include transportation, facilities and profit, and resell the fingerlings to individuals
only requiring a few hundred trout.
An easy way to market tank or pond raised trout is selling market size
trout to a wholesaler. This wholesaler may distribute the trout to a major chain of stores
or to individual stores. Market size trout are sold to wholesalers where ever they set up
a gathering point. Large volumes of trout can be transported to these single gathering
points, trout producers do not need to be located near a major population base.
Selling to local or specialized markets requires greater marketing
skills; however, the rewards pay off over the long run. Dealer licenses must be obtained
from the provincial government Fish and Wildlife division before trout can be legally sold
to individuals, grocery stores and restaurants. Only fish of top quality with top quality
flavor are accepted. Trout damaged during harvesting, having a muddy taste or of unusual
size will have to be marketed by another means. Damaging the reputation of your operation
and trout quality can be irreparable.
A U-fish operation is a business where people come to the pond and catch
their own fish on a line and hook. This operation can be profitable alone, but is more so
when combined with other home based businesses such as U-pick gardens, craft shops or
campgrounds. A U-fish businesses can be run seasonally or year round. One can charge
fishermen at a flat rate, by a certain price per centimeter (inch) or kilogram (pound) or
by combining the two.
||If you are interested in any of the titles below, click on the title
and it will take you to Amazon.com for ordering. Click on the icon at the left for more
Inland Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Environment - by K. Remane (Editor), Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Hardcover - Publication date: August 1997
- Price information not available.
: The Farming and Husbandry of Freshwater and Marine Organisms - by John E. Bardach -
Paperback - Publication date: December 1, 1995 - List: $74.95
and Water Resource Management - by Donald J. Baird (Editor) - Hardcover Publication
date: September 1, 1996 - List: $110.00
in the United States : A Historical Survey - by Robert R. Stickney, Robert Stickeny -
Hardcover - Publication date: January 1, 1996 - List: $64.95
The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
A provocative look at the past, present and future of a troubled industry. Describes how
public opinion has changed from viewing aquaculture as a friend of the environment to
considering it an enemy. Presents the conflict between what is technically possible and
what is economically and environmentally sound. Explains why aquaculture is thriving
outside the U.S. but is facing difficulties in this country.
Sourcebook : A Guide to North American Species - by Edwin S. Iversen, Kay K. Hale -
Hardcover - Publication date: September 1992 - List: $67.95
and Water Supply for Pond Aquaculture - by Kyung H. Yoo, Claude E. Boyd Hardcover -
Publication date: October 1, 1994 - List: $99.95
Book News, Inc., 10/01/94:
A text for a course in water supply for aquaculture or for individual study. The
volume is divided into two parts. Part I, Hydrology, Morphology, and Soils, is concerned
with hydrological phenomena that affect pond design, construction, and management. Part
II, Design of Water Supply and Pond Systems, deals primarily with engineering techniques
used in design and construction of pond aquaculture facilities. Annotation copyright Book
News, Inc. Portland, Or.
to Aquaculture - by Matthew Landau - Hardcover - Publication date: September 1, 1991 -
The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
Although the science of aquaculture has been around for centuries, it has only recently
attained popularity. This textbook introduces a wide spectrum of aquaculture-related
subjects. Topics covered include the history of aquaculture, water quality and sources,
culture systems, economics, law, engineering, chemistry, biology and more.
Book News, Inc., 01/01/92:
Introductory text for a college or university course covers a wide spectrum of
aquaculture-related topics and, because many different fields play a part in aquaculture,
includes sections on history, economics, law, engineering, chemistry and biology. No
assumptions are made about the background or education of the reader. Annotation copyright
Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
of Aquaculture - by Robert R. Stickney - Hardcover - Publication date: March 1994 -
The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
Based on the author's previous work, Principles of Warmwater Aquaculture, this text
updates and expands upon the basic principles of aquaculture. Encompasses a wider
diversity of aquatic animals including coldwater fishes. Focuses on the practical aspects
of water quality, feeding and nutrition, reproduction, breeding, diseases and operations.
Deals with the environmental, social and economic aspects of aquaculture. Many of the
examples feature species of both sport and commercial interest.
Book News, Inc., 06/01/95:
A text that presents the underlying principles of aquaculture and provides examples that
underscore the principles and demonstrate the variability that exists among species of
culture organisms. It extends the scope of Stickney's Principles of Warmwater Aquaculture
(Wiley, 1979) to encompass a wider variety of aquatic animals, including such coldwater
fishes as trout and salmon. The emphasis is on species being reared around the world by
commercial aquaculturists. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
of Warmwater Aquaculture - by Robert R. Stickney - Hardcover - Publication date: April
1, 1979 - List: $84.95
The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
Provides the basic concepts and techniques required to rear warmwater animals in both
fresh and marine environments and under controlled or semi-controlled conditions. Utilizes
examples from various species to demonstrate how specific general principles can be
applied throughout the field. Focuses on commercially important species that are being or
can be reared in the United States. The concepts can also be applied to animals reared for
laboratory use. Includes a comprehensive bibliography to the literature.
Aquaculture - by John E. Bardach (Editor) - Hardcover - Publication date: May 1, 1997
- List: $69.95
- Better Trout
Habitat : A Guide to Stream Restoration and Management - by
Christopher J. Hunter - Publication Date: November 1991 - List: $30.00
- Handbook of Trout and Salmon Diseases - by Ronald J.
Roberts, C. Jonathan Shepherd - Publication Date: July 1997 - List: $110.00
- Fish Health
Blue Book, Number 4 : Suggested Procedures for the Detection and Identification of
Certain Finfish and Shellfish Pathogens - by John C. Thoesen (Editor) -
Publication Date: June 1992 - List: $82.50
- Handbook of Nutrient Requirements of Finfish - by Robert P.
Wilson - Publication Date: August 1991 - List: $179.00
This page was last updated on
November 15, 2002