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Integrated Fish Farming - Rationale And Scope

Shashank Singh1, Prabjeet Singh1, Nitin Verma1 and Diniesh Kumar1

1College of Fisheries, G.B.Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India


Nowadays, the economy is mainly based on the field of agriculture and software development in the area of Information Technology. For achieving rapid progress in rural area, our strategy must focus on; conserving natural resources, enhancing efficient use of resources, increasing productivity and profitability and improving quality and competitiveness through reduced unit cost of production.

Water is emerging as international challenge and its most efficient management as well as recycling has been given high priority in the plan of formulation. Recycling of crop residue as well as agricultural by products inclusion of nitrogen fixing legumes in rotation, bio fertilizers, vermicultres, agro forestry, nutrient solublising micro-organisms, efficient nutrient up taking plant varieties etc. are being strategies in the research mandate. Improved efficiency of farm machinery, agro- input and resource conservation technologies of minimum tillage are being researched to minimize the cost of production.

Integrated Fish Farming is one of the best examples of mixed farming. This type of farming practices in different forms mostly in the East and South East Asian countries is one of the important ecological balanced sustainable technologies. The technology involves a combination of fish polyculture integrated with crop or live stock production. On farm waste recycling, an important component of integrated fish farming is highly advantageous to the farmers as it improves the economy of production and decrease the adverse environmental impact of farming.

Integrated fish farming refers to the simultaneous culture of fish or shell fish along with other culture systems. It may also be defined as the sequential linkage between two or more culture practices. Generally integrated farming means the production or culture of two or more farming practices but when fish becomes its major component it is called as integrated fish farming. Fish culture can be integrated with several systems for efficient resource utilisation.

The integration of aquaculture with livestock or crop farming provides quality protein food, resource utilisation, recycling of farm waste, employment generation and economic development. Integrated fish farming is well developed culture practice in China followed by Hungary, Germany and Malaysia. Our country, India, is organic-based and derives inputs from agriculture and animal husbandry. The integrated fish farming is accepted as a sustainable form of aquaculture. For integration we can use recycled effluents from agro-based industries as well as food processing plants.

Integrated fish farming serves as a model of sustainable food production by following certain principles:

  • The waste products of one biological system serve as nutrients for a second biological system.

  • The integration of fish and plants results in a polyculture that increases diversity and yields multiple products.

  • Water is re-used through biological filtration and recirculation.

  • Local food production provides access to healthy foods and enhances the local economy.


The integrated fish farming includes the

  1. process of trapping solar energy,

  2. production of organic material by primary producers(autotrophs),

  3. its utilisation by phagotrophs,

  4. decomposition of autotrophs & phagotrophs by saprotrophs,

  5. release of nutrients for autotrophs.


  • Efficient waste utilisation from different culture practice for fish production.

  • It reduces the additional cost for supplementary feeding as well as fertilisation.

  • It is an artificial balanced ecosystem where there is no waste.

  • It provides more employment avenues.

  • It reduces the input and increases output and economic efficiency.

  • The integrated fish farming provides fish along with meat (chicken, duck, beef, pork etc.), milk, vegetables, fruits, eggs, grains, fodder, mushroom etc.

  • This practice has potential to increase the production and socio-economic status of weaker section of our society.


Basically the integrated fish farming is of two types

a) Agri-based fish farming

b) Live-stock fish farming

The fish-cum live-stock farming is realised as innovation for recycling of organic wastes as well as production of high class protein at low cost.

(a) Agri-based fish farming

1) Paddy —cum-fish culture In India, this farming is practised in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam where enough water is present in the paddy fields. The paddy fields retain water for 3-8 months in a year. The interest in this practice has declined in recent years due to the use of pesticides to protect high yielding varieties of paddy.

This practice can be done in following types of paddy plots-

i) Perimeter type- paddy grows in the middle.

ii) Central pond type — paddy growing area is on the perimeter.

iii) Lateral trench system- trenches are provided on either one or both sides of the moderately sloping field.

The variety of rice used in this culture is Panidhan, Jalmagna, CR26077, Tulsi etc. while the fish spp. are Indian major carps, Channa spp, Oreochromis mossambicus, Clarias batrachus, Anabas testudineus, silver carp, grass carp, common carp. The total production in such practice is approximately 90 quintal from 2 paddy crops while the fish production is about 1000 kg from 1 ha.

2) Horticulture-cum-fish farming

The horticulture-cum-fish farming system includes the culture of fruits, vegetables and flowers on the embankment of the pond. The fruits and vegetables contain various nutritive elements and the Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended 85g of fruits and 300g of vegetables to consume daily. For horticulture crop production the inner and outer dykes of the pond and adjoining areas are used. The selection of plant is the main criteria for the success of this system. The plant should be dwarf, seasonal, evergreen, remunerative and less shady. The fruit crops which can be used are Mango, Banana, Papaya, Coconut, Lime etc. and the vegetables like Brinjal, Tomato,Cucumber,Gourds, Chilli,Carrot, Raddish, Turnip, Spinach, Peas, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Ladies finger can be grown according to their season throughout the year. The flower plantation on the embankment is also useful. We can use the plants like Rose, Jasmine, Gladiolus, Marigold and Chrysanthemum etc. which provides additional income to the farmer and beauty to the farm. This system provides 20-25% more return in comparison to aquaculture alone.

The agri-based fish farming includes the mushroom fish system, sericulture-fish system, fodder crop integration etc. Pond bundhs may also used for growing pulses and oil seed crops. Aquatic cash crop like Makhana (Euryale ferox) and Singhara (Trapa spp) integration can also be done along with air-breathing or carnivorous fishes.

(b)Live-stock fish farming:

1) Poultry-cum-fish farming

This system utilises poultry droppings of fully built- up poultry litter for fish culture. The fish production obtained is about 5000 kg/ha/yr. with 1250 kg chicken meat and 70000 no. of eggs. Approximately 500-600 no. of birds is reared in a 1 ha pond. The Rhode Island or Leghorn variety birds are more preferred over others. They require 0.3-0.4 square meterspace/bird. Hoppers are used to feed them and to minimise feed wastage. The poultry birds (layers) are fed with starter, grower, and brooder feed according to their age. In India it is practised in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Tamilnadu.

2) Duck-cum-fish culture

The duck are commonly called as biologicals aerator. They are reared on the dyke of the pond in a low-cost house. This farming is practised in Tamilnadu, Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. The 'Indian runner' and 'Khaki campbell' varieties are found more suitable in this culture. About 300 no. of ducklings (some spp. are reared 450-500 in no.) are reared to fertilize the 1 ha. pond. The duck not only act as live aerator by splashing water with their webbed feet but also control the aquatic weed (Lemna,Azolla etc.), aquatic insects, molluscs, tadpoles etc. Each duckling require about 0.3-0.5 square meter area as living space. The total production from such type of culture is about 3500-5000 kg fish, 18000-18500 eggs and 600 kg of duck meat. The duck droppings are used as manure for primary production.

3) Pig-cum –Fish culture

This system has certain advantages over others. The 30-35 pig's waste may produce 1 tonn of Ammonium Sulphate and 40-45 pigs are adequate to fertilize 1 ha water area under polyculture. Each pig requires about 3-4 sq.m floor space. This system of integration is very common in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Hungary and some European countries. The White Yorkshire, Hampshire and Landrace are the popular breed of pig for integration with fish. Pigs need clean housing which should provide adequate protection from adverse climates. The pigs are fed on pig mash which is made up of rice bran, rice polish, wheat-bran, broken maize, ground-nut oil cake, fish- meal mineral mixture, salt etc. The spoiled vegetables can also be mixed in it. This system provides about 3000-4000 kg/ha/yr fish, 4500 kg/yr pig meat and 800 no. of piglets every year.

4) Cattle-cum-fish culture

It is a common practice all-over the world. The cow excreta is most abundant in terms of availability and a healthy cow may excrete over 4000-5000kg dung and 3500-4000 litre urine on an annual basis. The BOD of cow manure is lower than other livestock manure. About 5-6 cows can provide adequate manure for 1 ha pond in addition to 9000 kg milk and about 3000-4000 kg of fish annually. Cow-shed should be built close to fish pond to simplify handling of cow-manure.

5) GOAT-cum fish integration

It is considered as poor man's cow and a goat's excreta is considered as a very good organic fertilizer. The goat excreta contains organic carbon-60%, N-2.7%, P-1.78%, K-2.88% and its urine is also equally rich in both N & P. At least 50-60 goats are essential to fertilize 1 ha pond. The goats should be provided with dry, safe, comfortable house protected from excessive heat. The goat breeds are Jamanapari, Beetal, Barbari for milk and Bengal, Sirihi, Deccani are used for meat purpose. Goats are selective feeders and consume Berseem, Napier grass, Cowpea Soybean, Mulberry etc. This integration can provide 3500-4000 kg fish/ha/year without supplementary feeding and fertilizer.

6) Rabbit-fish integration

Rabbit meat is preferred by most of the health conscious consumers owing to its low fat in comparison to other meats. The important meat breeds are Soviet Chinchilla, Grey Giant, and White Giant etc. Rabbits are reared in cage, hutch and floor system (floor should be cemented). Rabbit excreta contain organic carbon-50%, N-2%, P-1.33%, and K-1.2%. The rabbit excreta is high in nitrogen content and low in moisture, thus quality manure for sustained plankton production. It is estimated that excreta from 300 rabbits would be enough for 1 ha pond fertilization.


Chan, G.L., 2006. Integrated farming system. What Does Integrated Farming System Do. .

Othman, K., 2006. Integrated farming system and multifunctionality of agriculture in Malaysia. Acta Hortic., 655: 291-296.

Sankhayan, P.L., 1998. Introduction to the Economics of Agricultural Production. Prentice Hall of India Private Ltd., New Delhi.

Verma. A.M., 1994. Integrated fish farming with Makhana (Eurale ferox) Fishing chimes

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Seafood — Fish — Crustacea

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