Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reducing Your Risks in Aquaculture

Last week my colleagues and I hosted an introduction to aquaculture workshop for individuals interested in starting up an aquaculture operation in Florida. One of the presentations, "The Pitfalls of Aquaculture: Disasters and Why they Occur" was given by Dr. Diego Valderrama with the University of Florida's Food and Resource Economics Department. I wanted to share some of the information he provided as its very useful for anyone interested in getting into aquaculture.

First off,
"Aquaculture is one strict farming business. The disorganized, the unprepared or the fainthearted need not apply. Aquaculture businesses are especially difficult because of the slim margins, burdensome government regulations, lengthy start-up time, live animal constraints, diseases, power outages, and fluctuating market prices. All who have succeeded have done so through hard work, long hours, significant investment and great personal sacrifice."

10 Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Investment in Aquaculture
Start your Operation with Enough Money- "Undercapitalization" is the number one cause of business failure. You must be prepared for unplanned expenses and unexpected losses.

Avoid Borrowing Money from Relatives and Friends- Do so at your own risk and only with a written legal agreement

Do a Market Study before Deciding which Species to Produce- Determine the range of species able to tolerate your proposed system and climate, of these which are most profitable, and of these which have willing buyers at your required price.

Study the Biology of the Species Before Deciding Which Species to Produce- After your market analysis, you must determine which of the more profitable species are within your capability and your systems constraints.

Avoid Spending Your Money on “Tomorrow’s Technology” Today- If a system sounds too good to be true, beware!

Seek Permits and Approvals before You Build Your Aquaculture Facility- It is to your advantage to know the rules before you design your system; make sure you do so. Apply the
rules during the design process, the species selection and your marketing plan.

Avoid Stocking Your Ponds to the Maximum During the First Years- Inexperienced aquaculturists often try to recapture every dime during the early years by stocking ponds as heavily as those done by experienced farmers. Do not do this! Lower stocking ratios mean smaller returns, but less risk, lower operating expenses and fewer catastrophes.

Avoid Producing Your Crop, then Trying to Market it- Production is only one facet of aquaculture. Marketing your crop should start before the first critter or plant enters the water.

Join Your State Aquaculture Association- Interacting with other aquaculturists will give you an opportunity to learn from others' mistakes, rather than just your own mistakes.

For more information about starting an aquaculture operation visit these useful sites:

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