Is Fish Farming Really Profitable? Truth Revealed!


Which species is the most profitable fish to farm? What do you know about fish farming investment and profit? How much do fish farmers make a year? Is fishery the most profitable aquaculture business?


With all of the stories surrounding fish farming business, many people who are interested in starting a business, especially in the agriculture industry, have always pondered on the question, “is fish farming profitable?

In this article, we are going to find out if fish farming is a profitable business that you could invest in.

GUIDE: Sample Fish Farming Marketing Plan

Raising fish for profit

Fish farming generally involves the rearing of various aquatic animals such as fish, mollusk, shrimps, prawns, etc in an enclosure such as a tank or pond. Today, there is a growing demand for fish and fish products because of their health benefits as against the general demand for meat and meat products. For one thing, fish is a very healthy source of protein and fats.

Before we delve into how profitable fish farming is, let us first learn the various types of fish farming and fish farming costs.


Types of Fish Farming

  • Fish Hatchery

A fish hatchery is an artificial fish rearing place were breeding, hatching, and growing to take place throughout the various stages of the life cycle of fish. It is very important to choose the right fish species. Some commonly reared fish species in the fish hatchery are shrimp; tilapia; salmon; scallops; carp fish; etc.

Tilapia fish farming is a very profitable one. Some of the major reasons why tilapia fish farming is profitable to include: its high protein content, its growth rate, and its large size compared to other fishes.

  • Shrimp Farming

Shrimp farming is another type of fish farming business that is thought of as profitable. The market demand for shrimp is high, and the business can be started small or on a very large scale.

  • Crab Farming

Crab farming is another profitable one. You could reduce the cost of land and labor when running the crab farming business, and commercial quantities could be produced in a small area.  The growth rate of crab is really fast, and it is accepted and highly demanded in the market. Pricing is also great.

  • Prawn Farming

Prawn farming is also another type of fish farming business where there is lots of profit, probably due to the high demand of prawn in the market.

  • Ornamental Fish Farming

Ornamental fish is loosely referred to as aquarium fish. They are beautiful, fancy, and very colorful. Demand for ornamental fish is greatly growing, and there is a good market available out there to take advantage of.

  • Cat Fish farming

This is one of the most commonly practiced fish farming business. The catfish farming business is very profitable, and fish farmers could easily combine it with other fish species. The start-up cost is very reasonable, depending on your location anyway. You could easily start it off on a small-scale.

You should read START A CATFISH FARM to know what is required to get started with a catfish farming business.

  • Carp Fish Farming

This is another fish farming business you could delve into and seize the market. Carp are referred to as omnivorous fish, although they have the propensity to consume animal food as a mollusk, as well as larvae of both worms and insects. You may not necessarily spend much on feed when running the carp fish farming business.

  • Salmon Fish Farming

Salmon are a type of fish that are considered carnivores. You could also delve into salmon fish farming and start producing commercial quantities.

  • Indoor Fish Farming

You could start an indoor fish farming business from your backyard, in a fish container, with as little capital as required.

Benefits of Fish Farming Business

Now let us take a look at the benefits of the fish farming business.

  • Of all the various food production sectors, the fish farming business ranks among the fastest-growing ones.
  • All around the world, there is a growing market demand for fish and fish products.
  • As the market demand grows, so does the price of fish and fish products.
  • The fish farming business plays a major role in providing job opportunities for citizens in a nation.
  • Today, there are several fish species available out there that are fast-growing; hence ensuring quick investment returns.
  • People who have other businesses and/or sources of income could start the fish farming business without difficulty.
  • Fish farmers could gladly be offered bank loans from banks too, and even at plausible interest rates due to the increasing and continuous support from the government toward the agricultural sector.

How Profitable Is Fish Farming Business?

Having realized the various types of fish farming, and getting to know the benefits of fish farming, let us know how profitable fish farming is.

Take, for instance, a fish farmer who constructs a fish pond at $60,000 and gets 1500 fingerlings at $20 each. He rears them to maturity, spending on average of $250 each; he then sells them at $500-$600 per kg of live weight.

That is some good returns he is making there.

One thing you must take note of is that, in your first year of running your fish farming business, regardless of the type of fish farming you settle with; you may not make much due to of cost of pond construction, cost of water management and maintenance, and cost of several other assets you may have incurred in the course of starting up your fish farming business.

You will require more than two (2) cycles of fish production before you could start making any substantial profits from your fish farming business.

Some people may think about what if they increase the size of their fish production from maybe 1500 to about 6,000 fish. The thing is, once your production goes up, your cost of production goes up as well.

Is fish farming a profitable business to start? Do you know how to go about profit calculation in fish farming?

Making profits from a new fish farm is not something that comes easily. I have come across several questions popped up on online forums about how lucrative fish farming is.

Most Profitable Fish to Farm

Questions such as “What is the average fish farming profit margin” How does it compare to shrimp farming profit margin? “how profitable is fish farming?” “Is fish farming more lucrative than poultry?” “Do you make money in fish farming” etc tends to come from prospective individuals who are looking at setting up a fish farming business.

Funny enough, these questions generally lead to debates that are led by uninformed users who may not even be practicing fish farmers.


Is catfish farming profitable? For instance, most people based their calculations on this template. A fish farmer builds an earthen pond at #50000, buys 1,000 pieces of fingerling at #15 each and used an average of #250 to rear them to adult size when he sells off at #450-#500 per KG of live weight. They are often elated about their returns which seems bounteous until you start removing the cost of constructing the ponds, water management, etc.

The bottom line is this, fish farming is very LUCRATIVE but if you would need to be cost-responsible for all the assets before starting your fish farm, you may never make any decent profit on your fish farming investment in your first production. Understand that you need at least 2-3 cycles of production before you start making good returns which are after completely offsetting the cost of some of these assets.

Some people may argue, ‘What of if I increase the size of my production says from 1,000 fish to 5,000 fish? Take this down, whatever you increase will translate to a higher cost of building ponds and feeding fish.

So if you’re planning to acquire loans with outrageous interest rates to start your fish farming investment with the innocent hope of paying back in full after your first production, please look before you leap.

In a nutshell, fish farming business is profitable regardless of which fish species or fish farming type you want to cultivate. Just like every other business, fish farming business depends on what you make of it.

Download: Updated Practical Manuals on Starting a Catfish Farm