Cages A New Approach To Fish Culture

by Andy Merkowsky

Fish culture is an ancient art, but several new approaches have been developed in recent years. One of the more interesting developments is cage culture. Using this approach, the great numbers of farm ponds that would otherwise lay idle because they are without drains or contain stumps that make them impossible to seine, can now be utilized. Floating cages in these ponds can produce fish at a cost much lower than store prices for fresh fish. Cage culture does not interfere with the other pond uses; the pond can still be used for watering cattle, irrigating crops, or recreation.

Stocking rates in cages are amazingly high. For a cage measuring one cubic meter it is recommended that at least 150 fingerlings be stocked. Any less than this and fish may bccome territorial, resulting in fighting. Some researchers have successfully raised 500 fish per cubic meter, but a stocking density of 200 to 250 fish per cubic meter is generally suggested for most efficient use of cage space.

Cage cufture is perhaps the cheapest method of raising fish because pond construction costs can be uvuided hv usin.t; a tarm pond .d ready ill existence. The movement of fish in tages is restricted so fish do not use as mm li ener«\. making teed costs much lower. Fish obviously at»: much easier to harvest, too.

An easily constructed, durable ¡ish cage

An easily constructed, durable ¡ish cage


Doublc-Q Cages Inqua Corp, P.O. Box 1325 Homestead, I-'l, 33«3(i



Dept. SDEB

AlomJ cello, AH 71655


L « "vi Aqua-Fah 1853 W. Commonwealth Fullerton, CA 92633

This small company custom-builds cages to the buyer's specifications.

The Double-Q cage is available from a number of distributors.


Mariuovicli Trawl Co., Inc. P.O. Box 294 Biloxi, MS 39533

Distributors of Fish Cages Act One Supplies 1530 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94602

Aquatic Control, Inc. P.O. Box 100 Seymour, IN 47274

Astra Chemicals, Ltd. 1004 Middlegate Rd. Mississauga, Ontario L4Y 1M4, Canada

John B. Fitzpatrick 214 E. North St. Dwight, IL 60420

Suppliers of Netting for Homemade Cages Con Wed Corp. 770 29th Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414

E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., Inc. Specialty Markets Div., Film Dept. Wilmington, DE 19898

McCrary's Farm Supply 114 Park St. Lonoke, AR 72086

C.E. Shepard Co. P.O. Box 9445 Houston, TX 77011


Any farm pond venture is only as successful as its harvesting methods. Getting the fish from the pond to the table can be approached in a variety of ways. For the sports-minded harvester, there is always the angler's approach. If the fish don't bite or if you want faster results, there are a variety of techniques which employ nets. Seining the pond and using gill nets are two efficient methods of harvesting fish all at once. Dip nets are effective for small harvests and will not injure fish.


Commerce Welding and Manufacturing Company

This company manufactures inch, nylon mesh, double-frame dip nets with two handle sizes. The nets have 15 inch widths. Handles are available in either 12 or 24 inch lengths.

Commerce Welding & Mfg. Co., Inc. 2200 Evanston St. Dallas, TX 75208

Crescent Manufacturing Company

Crescent manufactures small dip nets for fingerlings and minnows. The nets have 6 to 9 inch bags of s/lls inch nylon netting or % inch net. Nets are available in widths of 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, and 24 inches with handles 10 to 20 inches long. Small-mesh nylon seines are manufactured in depths of 4 to 12 feet and mesh sizes of y&, and \/4 inch. Larger mesh seines are offered in sizes of 1, li/s, and 2 inches and in depths of 6 to 12 feet. Seines are tarred with black net bond for added strength.

Crescent Mfg. Co,

Fort Worth, TX 76105

Duraframe Dipnet

Dip nets come in three shapes, lengths of 3i/2, 5, and 6 feet, and mesh sizes of yln, 14, y4, and 1 inch. Seines are made to the purchaser's specifications. Nets and seines are guaranteed for a period of one year: frames are handmade, and those used in cement runways have a second metal rim to keep the net lacing from rubbing and wearing against cement walls.

Duraframe Dipnet Rt. 2, Box 166 Viola, WI 54664

Nylon Net Company

This firm manufactures a wide variety of nets, seines, and lead sinkers.

Tkg protective outer rim of the Duraframe Dipnet prevents the net from being damaged if rubbed against the pond wall, DuraFrattie Dtpnct

Nylon Net Co. P.O. Box 592 Memphis, TN


Poirot Farm Industries

The PFJ Automatic Fish Harvester models 1-A and 1-B are made of S/J inch nylon netting tied to three 6-foot pieces of aluminum tubing. When combined wit J) a feeding apparatus, the net will be released when almost all of the feed has been eaten. A 12-volt battery is all that is needed to power the device. Model 2-B is available for mim.ows and small fish. If a customer is dissatisfied with the units after three weeks, a full refund is given if the system is returned washed. The automatic lift and sensor are guaranteed for 1 year against failure.

Poirot Farm Industries Golden City, MO 64748

Gill Nets

Gill nets are very large, lightweight nets with mesh averaging about 3 inches. They have little application in fish farming because they catch only very large fish and the fish die shortly after being caught. Particularly useful for commercial fisherman and game and fish associations, they can be manipulated by one person and set up in about an hour. The nets are dropped into a take or river and left for perhaps 21 hours. Fish are not able to see tfic fine strands of netting; so they swim right into the net. By the time they realize their peril, they have gone too far and their gilfs are caught in the net—like a fly in a spider web. Fish are often scarred or marked, and on the threshhold of death when finally pulled from the water. With an immediate market outlet for their catch, commercial fishermen fnui this technique quite satisfactory, but most people* involved in aquaculture prefer to seine.

Seine Nets

Seine nets arc used for harvesting all the fish from a pond at one time. Their mesh is much finer and made of a heavier fiber than gill nets in order to hold a whole catch without breaking. Lead weights attached to the bottom ropes prevent any fish from escaping the net as it is pulled across the pond. Floats attached to the top ropes complete the enclosure. To make the catch, the net is drawn across the pond and hauled out of the water at the other end. This is one task which requires a number of helpers.

Catfish Nets

Spines on the dorsal fins of catfish have a

Special netting material tr'ist be used for harvesting catfish to prevent snagging and injuring their spines.

tendency to get caught in nylon mesh netting This can be harmful to the fish and to you if vou attempt to free then* without gloves, and can create a potential bottleneck in your harvesting project. Special nets coated with tar are available ta help you avoid this problem.

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