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Growing fish in cages can be a means for landowners with ponds to produce fish for supplemental income or for their own dinner table. It costs much less than starting a fish farm and allows the pond to be used for other purposes such as recreation, stock watering, or irrigation.
David Cline is an extension aquaculture specialist at Auburn University. He says there are several fish species that do well in this type of environment.
"You’re looking for fish that get along well together and historically that includes things like catfish, tilapia, trout. Folks have done hybrid striped bass, there’s the potential to do bluegills and other sunfish but they create some other challenges," says Cline. "But I would say the most common ones that I have come across are folks that either want to grow catfish or tilapia."
The fish will depend on you for healthy meals since they’re not free to roam around snacking on their natural food. You also need keep an eye on fish health due to their intensive numbers.
"Most of the time you have to put a lot of fish in there so you’re going to have a relatively crowded environment in order to overcome the fish’s natural territorial nature," he says. "There is the potential for them bumping into each other, bumping into the cage, getting scraped up, which makes an opening for the potential for them to get a bacterial disease or something along those lines."
The cages are simple to move around and getting at the fish is easy for care, observation and harvesting.