We are at the beginning of the design phase of a commercial aquaponic system planned to be built this year. Designing an aquaponic system can look relatively simple, however during the design phase, you soon notice aquaponic stock management can add complexity.
It is clear to me why so many people go with Tilapia or do not grow fish as part of their financial plan. Tilapia are the “chicken of the sea” making profit in recirculating aquaculture difficult. Tilapia are very much “bullet proof” and tolerate more user errors in management. You may make a few dollars on the fish sales but they are risky at commercial rates with stiff competition and poor market perception.
The downside of not selling fish, in my opinion is, the lack of separate enterprise budgets for each of the products. The accounting for all products as one unit sharing costs is certainly simple. The lack of detail will “hide” costs within the other products, leaving the manager with no real idea how much a particular product is costing them.
The lack of financial detail blurs the actual cost of producing say, Peppers compared to Tomatoes 1 and will burden both with the cost of the fish. This approach will force the cost of production up and make it difficult to determine the break even price. Without knowing the true cost of production, the farm manager has the difficult job of determining the sales price which may not be competitive in the market and may stagnate growth in the business.
However, the financial planning is not the topic today. Let’s take a look at some stock management in aquaponics.