One of the most challenging aspects of catfish farming is how to secure one’s farm from theft and other security issues that may reduce returns on one’s investment. Unlike poultry where the farm owner can monitor the number of birds by taking stock periodically, catfish cannot be accurately counted in the pond until the time of harvest. As a result of this, any security breach may not be discovered until the time of harvest.
To many catfish farmers, security of their farm is more challenging than raising capital to expand their business. In fact, many are opting out of this so called lucrative business because they feel they cannot do much to secure their investments. According to available information, some farmers have lost hope in farm security guards because many of them cannot be trusted with the farm. From personal experience, security guards pose more threat to catfish farm than human and animal predators as well as natural elements combined, except in a situation where other security gadgets are used along with security guards.
As far as security of catfish investment is concerned, the most efficient security network a farmer can depend on is a combination of two or more security measures as provided in this article. You will do yourself a great favor as a catfish farmer by making use of relevant combinations of security measures suggested here:
1. Location Matters: Don’t Site Your Farm in an Obscure Location
One of the factors to consider when deciding where to site your catfish farm is the location; having your farm in a place that is open and exposed is more advantageous than having your farm in a closed and remote location. There are several benefits to having your farm in an open area, and this contributes to security in the following ways:
- The fact that your farm is in an open place makes it difficult for people to do however they please; if your farm is sited in a closed and remote place, and people feel that no one is watching, you shouldn’t be surprised if people occasionally take a hook and line to one or more of your ponds to steal your fishes.
- Having your farm in an open place also makes it easy for passersby to observe what is happening; if people suspect foul play, it wouldn’t be difficult to raise an alarm.
2. Always Net Your Ponds
We have been to farm times without number to see our nets catch snakes, monitor lizards and other predators that could have feasted on our fishes. It also isn’t unusual to see large birds of prey, including hawks and kingfishers trying to pick juveniles, and even occasionally bigger fishes; by netting your ponds, you can easily prevent these predators from getting to your fishes.
Netting your ponds also protects your farm from human predators who will not want to be discovered. People will be careful to behave anyhow with a pond that is netted, compared to a pond that is open and where external activities would not be easily noticed.
3. Don’t Site Your Farm around Large Water Bodies
A very critical, but rarely considered, security threat is water bodies around your farm; most farmers are very excited when they see the opportunity to situate their ponds around large water bodies, such as rivers or large streams, believing that they will benefit by having access to lots of water. Unfortunately, they are at a disadvantage if there should be a heavy downpour, or should water from a large dam or river be channeled into them, leading to an overflow of water that could carry away all of their fishes in a heartbeat.
If you decide that you want to situate your ponds around a large body of water, to take advantage of the available water at all seasons, you should try to leave a catchment area of at least 10 meters or more between your pond and the body of water to ensure that you’re not affected should flooding occur. You should also build large embankments around your ponds to ensure that you’re protected in the case of an overflow.
4. Install Security Cameras in Addition to Security Guards On-Site
If you have a large number of fishes in your farm, say 20,000 or more fishes, you can install security cameras on your farm to monitor activities of predators and man-predators on and around your farm. This will ensure that you are aware of happenings in and around your farm at all times, even if you aren’t on-site.
We have often heard of security guards, who were hired to watch over farms, pilfering the fishes or even organizing people to come and buy fishes from the farm without the knowledge of the farm owner; by installing secret security cameras (you know those cameras that look like a security light?) alongside security guards on your farm, you can protect yourself from foul play from your security guards.
5. Install Security Lights that Can be Programmed to Turn on and off at Intervals
Another way to secure your catfish farm is by ensuring that it is difficult to predict when you are on or off your farm; a good way to go about this is by installing security lights that are programmed to turn on and off at intervals; you could program the security lights to turn on for 20 minutes and then go off, and then to turn on again an hour later. When people see this, they assume that you are on-site even if you are not, and are careful to misbehave since they don’t know whether you are around or not.
6. Regularly Clear Bushes around Your Farm
Snakes, monitor lizards and other large predators abound in areas where there are bushes; by regularly clearing and cutting bushes around your farm, you can reduce these predators to the barest minimum and as a result ensure that your fishes are much safer.
7. Do a Perimeter Fencing With Barbed Wires Instead of Bricks or Wood
It is also recommended to do a perimeter fencing of your farm with fence wires instead of bricks or wood; this protects your farm from human predators, children or cattle while at the same time ensuring that you can see what is happening at your farm at all times without necessarily having to be inside the farm.
8. Regularly Clear the Drainage and Water Channels
This is especially important if water around your farm passes through a bridge; be sure to clean the bridges regularly and ensure that nothing is blocking the water passage to ensure adequate outflow of water at all times, in the process securing your farm from flood should there be a large downpour.
9. Do not be too Far Away from Your Farm
Coming regularly to farm will afford you the opportunity of discovering security risks and issues on time before they become threats. This will enable you to work on various security lapses as discovered on your farm.