Fish Harvest

My host dad gazes upon the fruits of his efforts.

My host dad finally did a fish harvest this week. I had been in town for most of the day submitting some paperwork. After returning, I went down to the ponds and was surprised to find a harvest in progress. Two of my host dad’s ponds had been part of an experiment with Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) comparing commercial feed and home-made feed. The ponds have been stocked for the better part of a year but I guess they finally got around to harvesting l them. I suspect I didn’t get told it was going to happen because my host dad didn’t get told either. Either way, I am glad they finally harvested the things.

The channel is in the back corner with the net keeping fish in the pond.

The first step in harvesting is to drain the pond. This makes the whole process a lot easier. The fish wind up concentrated in the bottom of the pond, and there is less water to wade through as you drag the net through the pond. Plus, after harvesting it is better to let the pond dry for a week or two before filling it back up with water. That kills off frogs and unwanted fish that can burrow into the mud. Draining the pond is accomplished by cutting a channel in the wall of the pond, and a net is used to ensure the fish don’t escape.

The trick is to make the kids get muddy while you stay on the bank.

After the pond is drained, it is a pretty simple affair of dragging the net through the pond. This harvest yielded about 20kg of fish. Frankly, that’s about 1/5 of what you would really hope for. But these ponds
have been suffering from predators due to their proximity to the river. I kind of suspect if they had harvested after 6 months instead of a year they would have gotten more fish. There are also more steps that can be taken to help prevent predators from eating the fish, and this should maybe spur my host dad into taking those steps. I don’t feel too bad about it all since SUN provided the fingerlings and my host dad got fish out of the deal. At about 20 kwatcha per kg, a 400 kwatcha payday isn’t the worst.

I told him to pose with the fish. I got this Blue Steel look.

I’m really glad we actually got to do a pond harvest while I was here. My host dad’s other ponds are ready for harvest too, but aside from occasionally harvesting a few fish to eat he has been mostly keeping those as a future source of fingerlings. I don’t think that’s the greatest strategy, and I’ve told him that, but they’re his ponds after all. But we harvested some fish we ate some for lunch the next day, so that was cool.