Like anything else, if you like doing something it can be a good vocation no matter what the pay. If you don’t like your job it doesn’t matter how much you get paid, you still hate your job. While modern aquaculture and aquaponics can be very lucrative, most people do not do it completely for the money. They do it because they enjoy it and it also provides income. Growing fish is going to require more manual labor and probably more hours than being a software developer for a company for example.
However, the stress could be far less. Many people involved in the farming do it as a side line. It is what I call, a “Profitable hobby”. I have many clients who started off doing fish farming and aquaponics as a side job and have progressed to the point that they have quit their original job and are now full time farmers. I have a few people who started growing fish and vegetables and quickly got out of it deciding it was not for them.
So, having said all of that, becoming a fish farmer is an individual preference. Many people who thrive in this business on a small scale take a Thoreau approach to life in that they are at peace with themselves as they grow the crops and sell them to others making new friends each day. Then of course, as a designer of commercial systems, I have many clients who are only interested in making big bucks and to heck with making friends. So you have to decide what it is you are seeking. It is not a rocket science business that is difficult to master. With good guidance almost anyone can learn it quickly. With our DIY systems you can begin small and inexpensively and grow from there. If you decide it is not for you, then it was just another of life’s educational experiences but you didn’t go broke finding that out.
I grew up on a dairy farm and have been involved with fish farming for longer than most people reading this have been alive. My experience in agriculture is extensive. As far as I am concerned, aquaponics has to be the best thing that has ever been developed for the production of healthy foods for humans. As we strive to come up with more environmentally friendly ways to feed our growing populations, the marriage of fish farming and vegetable growing is unequaled by any other methods. Every industry has its critics, however, in all of my research, I have never seen one legitimate concern with this practice with the exception of perhaps which is the best method to use.
Depending on the ratio of fish grown to plants grown, every drop of water and energy placed in these systems can be used over and over again until it is just plain used up. But as is the case with all farming you must invest the time to attend your crops, harvest them and get them to market. So it does take time and energy. However, aquaponics can be the most profitable side of small scale fish farming. If you love gardening this can be the perfect way to earn income from your passion. Once again, it is not rocket science and it does not take degrees in horticulture to do it. It is basically back yard gardening with a twist.
The great thing about aquaponics is, if that is your main interest, you do not have to grow a lot of fish to produce tons of vegetables. For every pound of fish you produce you can grow up to 15 pounds of various vegetables. All organic. So a person with a small fish system like our DIY S-12 could operate just 2 of these tanks and produce enough vegetables products to make a good living.With the price of vegetables and other foods going up at the market place everyday, there is more profit for a small vegetable farmer than there has ever been before. He is selling locally and does not have the overhead and transportation cost that the big industrial producers have.The opportunity is before you and potential for profits is good. Whether this is the right business for you depends on your willingness to make a commitment and work hard to become an independent and successful farmer.In closing, please notice, no where in this do I claim that fish farming and aquaponics is a way to get rich quick. No matter what, you are going to have to work hard at it. However when you consider the amount of food that is consumed right in your area every single day, and someone has to supply that food, every single day, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve.