World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqPs) for: Cage Production Systems

David Crosby, David Kuhn, Brian Nerrie, Chris Mullins*, and Michael Schwarz
*Virginia State University
PO Box 9081, Petersburg
Virginia, 23803

Good Aquaculture Practices

Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqPs) are activities, procedures, or considerations optimizing production systems and management protocols to maximize environmental and economic sustainability, final product quality and safety, animal health and worker safety, while concurrently minimizing the likelihood of a disease outbreak. GAqP considerations generic to all aquaculture production systems include considerations for:  Regulatory and non-regulatory compliance, facility siting and design, source water, facility security, animal health, feed management, record keeping and employee safety and training.

Cage Production Systems

Cage aquaculture is the most suitable production system for farm ponds. The bottom and shape of most farm ponds preclude many other fish production systems. Cage aquaculture is growing fish in a confined netted structure in a pond. Cage production has its particular GAqPs such as the number of fish stocked per cubic foot of water in a cage. Cage production uses a netting material in various geometric structures such as being round, square, or rectangle that allows for the exchange of water between the cage for growing fish and the pond.  Growing fish in cages is a relatively common practice for beginning fish farmers. By using cages, a farmer has easy access to harvest fish for markets. It is recommended that a beginning fish farmer starts off with raising 250 rainbow trout in a four ft. round cage to learn GAqPs for cage production. GAqPs for cage production consist of various stocking densities, cage design, cage placement, fish suitable for growing in cages, water quality, fish health, feeding practices, and pond requirement.

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