Basic Principles of Integrated Fish Farming:
Integrated fish farming is based on the concept that ‘there is no waste’, and waste is only a misplaced resource which can become a valuable material for another product. In integrated farming, the basic principles involve the utilization of the synergetic effects of inter-related farm activities and the conservation, including the full utilization of farm wastes.
It is assumed that all the constituents of the system would benefit from such a combination. However, in most cases, the main beneficiary is the fishes which utilize the animal and agricultural wastes directly or indirectly as food. As integrated farming involves the recycling of wastes, it has been considered an economic and efficient means of environmental management.
Types of Integrated Fish Farming:
1. Paddy-Cum-Fish Culture:
Rice fields which are water-logged for 3-8 months in a year, there is always small population of fishes that gain access to such waters. This probably had given rise to the practice of deliberate stocking of fishes and harvesting. The trapping of prawns and fishes with the help of ‘gamcha or dhoti’ in fallow paddy-fields has been an age old practice in India.
The culture of fishes in paddy-fields has been an off-season occupation for farmers:
(a) Objectives of Paddy-Field Aquaculture:
The objectives or advantages of paddy-field aqua¬culture are as follows:
(1) Paddy-field aquaculture provides additional income to the farmers.
(2) In areas where rice and fish form the staple food, paddy-field aquaculture makes available an essential diet for the people.
(3) As paddy and fish can be grown either simultaneously or alternately in the same water mass, it requires very little extra input by way of additional costs, particularly in management and labor.
(4) It provides off-season employment to the farmers and farm labors.
(5) Combination of paddy and fish farming is mutually beneficial. Fish cultivation promotes better paddy production by way of exercising an effective control on unwanted weeds, molluscs, noxious insects and their larval stages.
(b) Fishes Suitable for Paddy-Cum-Fish Culture:
All fishes are not suitable for such a type of culture as paddy-fields provide special ecological conditions such as shallow turbid water with high temperature.