Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Aquaculture in Manitoba - Where to Start

picture of land based fish farm in manitoba
My First Fish Farm in Manitoba
Updated information is now available from the IRAFS Group aquaculture resource website. You can view and read new fresh content at this link

The IRAFS Group is based in Manitoba and Saskatchewan Canada. At the IRAFS website we publish our new blog and articles on land based closed containment aquaculture, along with industry related information and opinions. Members of the Irafs team regularly read and review news stories relating to the aquaculture industry and post our opinions on news and stories we feel are relative to the industry and could be informative for our site visitors. 

I often receive requests for information on Aquaculture in Manitoba. Many requests are from persons wanting to research the business potential of fish farming as an alternative or supplementary form of agriculture or as a standalone business. The following provides a quick overview of Aquaculture in Manitoba with links to further resources.

Aquaculture, or fish farming, has been practiced in Manitoba since the late 1960s. It began with experimental stocking and fish growth studies in “pothole” lakes in the Erickson area in southwestern Manitoba. These pothole stockings were conducted by the DFO Canada Freshwater Institute and the Manitoba Government. Many of these lakes were considered to have the potential to be productive waters for raising fish and experimental stocking and monitoring was undertaken to help determine fish performance. Rainbow trout quickly became the species of choice due to their rapid rate of growth and their general hardiness. Rainbow trout continue to be the primary species stocked into lakes and dugouts in Manitoba.

Manitoba fish farming activities have primarily taken the form of hobby farming, involving the stocking of fingerling sized young fish into farm dugouts or ponds on private lands, or into small lakes on Crown lands, primarily for recreational purposes. The stock is generally allowed to grow by foraging on available food sources within the pond. This practice is known as Extensive Aquaculture. Depending on the owner preference, pond environment and fish growth desires the food source is sometimes supplemented by the feeding of prepared commercial fish food.

A good source of information on this type of activity is a booklet “Trout Farming in Manitoba”, available from the Fisheries Branch of the Manitoba Department of Water Stewardship.

Intensive aquaculture, which takes the form of fish rearing in cages, tanks, or raceways, is relatively new in Manitoba. There are currently only a few commercial aquaculture operations in the province. However interest in commercial aquaculture as a means of agriculture diversification or as an alternative crop is increasing.

Intensive aquaculture requires a higher degree of rearing environmental control, increased fish stocking densities, controlled feeding rates with prepared nutrient dense diets and greater farm management requirements. Intensive aquaculture operations require more capital investment , involves the use of more technologies and equipment and necessitate increased levels of manpower .

As mentioned extensive aquaculture is carried out in lakes or dugouts, present and future intensive aquaculture operations in Manitoba will involve the growing fish inside buildings under controlled conditions using tanks of varied sizes and shapes (land-based), or in cages moored in deep lakes.

The province of Manitoba offers “A Guide to Intensive aquaculture in Manitoba” as a good starting point for those exploring commercial fish farming in the province.

I always advise people to research the potential of Aquaculture as a business in as much detail as they can before deciding if it's an opportunity that fits both your financial and location resources.

Aquaculture does offer good potential for financial returns and it can be a rewarding business and one you can be be proud of. Like any other idea, your business size and scope has to suit you and your resources to have the best chance for success.

More information on commercial land based Aquaculture can also be found at This link.

Information on Aquaponics farming, an excellent way to grow your own supply of fresh herbs, vegetables and fish year round can now be found at This Page.

Update: A Canadian model aqua-farm demonstrating the viability of indoor fish rearing on the Prairies is now producing Rainbow Trout. The farm is a research data collection site to answer the many questions would-be investors and regulatory agencies will have about fish-farm operations. Link to Story

B&B Freshwater Fish Farm owned by the McDonald family and located near Gunton Manitoba, is expanding. Rick McDonald converted an unused hog barn to fish farming. They now raise Arctic Char and maintain one of the few certified disease free breeding stocks in the world today. They produce Arctic Char eggs and young fish plus some Rainbow Trout Read More Here.


The Be Green Team said...

I think this is a fascinating topic and one that applies not only in Canada but here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Alternative sources of food production are a vital component to the sustainability of our food sources and our species for that matter. Please keep the posts coming.

The Be Green Team

Freddie L Sirmans, Sr. said...

Just browsing the net, very interesting.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment "Be green team".
Glad you found it interesting. I agree that creating a sustainable supply of food is vital. Perhaps it will be even more vital as we progress towards a more "greener world". I am writing a new article that deals with the known advantages and perceived disadvantages of aquaculture. The focus will be using eco-friendly methods of farming more fish.


Thanks Freddy Sirmans for dropping in and finding my blog interesting!

raj said...

Yes, a site which looks like a professionally designed, is very important.

Anonymous said...

Would you know where I could buy Rainbow trout fingerlings. I have a propery near Woodridge Manitoba and would like to stock a pond I have. My email is

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