After all the drought years of the last decade, We have just recently spent a small fortune lining our dams so we have water security. As a side benefit, it also means we can now try out growing fish.
During our time in Cuba, we realised just how productive aquaculture can be. Cubans grow mostly tilapia and nowadays clarias catfish, neither of which are spectacular eating quality and both of which are potential environmental problems. They do, however grow in tiny little garden ponds, live on weeds and insects, grow spectacularly fast, and are a good source of protein.
We’ve decided to try Australian native silver perch, which supposedly are excellent eating quality and will grow successfully in our relatively small dam. They are native to the Murray-Darling system, but since they need flowing water and migration to breed, they are now listed as vulnerable. They won’t breed successfully in the still water of our dam, but hopefully they will grow and in a year or two we will be able to begin eating them.
They should survive and grow on just the natural food available in the dam ecosystem. The biggest threat is likely to be wild ducks and other birds that might decide they are part of the food chain too.
We bought 100 fingerlings from a fish hatchery called Aquablue Seafoods near Newcastle. They work out at just over $1 each, arrived overnight in a polystyrene box, and we’ve now released them into the dam. It will be interesting to see how they go.