The fish farming business is a very profitable one, yet, it is not very capital-intensive. Basically, fish farming is a subset of the agriculture industry.

This business chiefly focuses on the raising of various species of fish, as well as other sea foods.

Here is a comprehensive business plan for fish farming.

Do you want to start up a catfish farm? Catfish farming business is a very lucrative one, especially if you have the insider knowledge to succeed. In this article, you will get to realize the various steps you must consider before you can start a catfish farm.

There is so much potential in the catfish farming business which you as entrepreneur could take advantage of. Catfish also known as “siluriformes” has so many species. There are more than 300 hundred catfish species.

Guide: Crawfish Farming Manual

If you are so keen in starting this catfish farming business, then let us proceed straight to the steps you will have to undertake.

This is probably one of the first steps you will have to take in starting your catfish farm. You must first and foremost decide which species of catfish you want to rear. There are various species of catfish, and the catfish species you decide upon will depend on the size of your pond, your target market and the way you operate your farm.

You cannot go into the catfish farming business and just hope to succeed without having some in-depth knowledge about the catfish farming business beforehand. Before you venture out into that catfish farming business, take your time to go work in a catfish farm and know all that there is to know about the business before starting up on your own. If you are not going to be paid working in a catfish farm, you could decide to work for them for free.

SEE: Sample Fish Farming Farm Business Proposal

If you cannot work in a catfish farm, then you must get yourself someone, preferably a mentor in the catfish farming business to give you all the business insider details. If you do not know anyone who is into the catfish farming business that could give you the needed information, then you must search for one.

It is even much important that you seek this insider information from catfish farmers in faraway places because they will be very much comfortable disseminating trade secrets to you than a catfish farmer in your area who may consider you a potential competitor.

  • Determine the Scale you want to Operate

Now is time you have to decide upon the scale you want to operate. Do you have the resources to startup a large – scale catfish farming business, or a medium – scale or small – scale catfish farming business?

The scale you decide upon will however depend upon the resources you have, how much startup capital you have to start with, how big the land for your catfish pond is.

  • Choose Target Market

This is where you will have to decide who you want to sell your catfishes to. It is at this stage that you will have to do a critical market analysis to know the people who truly need catfish. It is true that most people eat fishes, especially Africans, but you just cannot startup your catfish farm without knowing exactly who your target market is.

It is very important you define your target because fish is not a durable product, hence you will incur losses in the long run by keeping grown fishes for too long in your pond.

  • Acquire Land

Of course you must acquire a suitable land for your catfish farm. The location of land you acquire will depend on a number of factors such as nearness to target market; nearness to clean, adequate and quality water supply; nearness to good road, etc.

Also the size of the land will depend upon your goal for the business. If you intend starting a catfish farming business as a side business, you may not require a large size of land. You may only need to have your pond at the back of your house.

  • Consult Experts to Build your Pond

This is where the knowledge you have acquired working in a catfish farm will be of immense benefit. You cannot just go ahead and build your catfish pond all by yourself without having the knowledge of the standards that are required of a catfish pond.

There are standards that the pond must be built according to. It is important you seek the assistance of nearby catfish farmers if you do not have the needed knowledge and experience required to build a catfish pond.

  • Obtain the Needed Permits and Licenses

Before you can go and obtain the required permits and licenses, first you must go and get a good business name for your catfish business and get it registered with the relevant authorities in your country.

You must make enquiries as to the necessary licenses and permits you will require to operate your catfish farming business in your location. Seek the assistance of other catfish farmers. You could also employ the services of a consultant to help you get all the paper works done. You will have to pay the consultant a small fee for his services anyway.

  • Write a Fish Farming Business Plan

You will now have to write a business plan for your catfish farming business. If you cannot write one, you could employ the services of a legal practitioner whom you will have to pay.

The business plan should contain all your expenses and startup capital. It should also contain your business goals and objectives; a market analysis and who your competitors are. There are several things that should be contained in a good business plan, but it must nonetheless contain the essential elements about your catfish farming business.

  • Maintain Source of Feed and Water, and Watch out for Diseases

This is very important in the course of running your catfish farming business. Catfish is a freshwater animal, and as such you cannot afford to grow your catfishes in water of poor quality. The best water for your catfishes is water that is gotten from untreated sources.

Also, you must make sure you have a pH metre to always check the level of acidity of the water. You must make sure the water is not acidic at any time, since acidic water is very bad for your catfishes.

Also, make sure you provide the right feed for your catfishes. The feed must contain vital nutrients.

Lastly, you must watch out for catfish diseases. Whenever you observe any symptom such as loss of colour, bloated body, open sores, frayed fins, skin inflammation, etc you must take proper measures because it could be the sign of bacteria attack.

Also, not just bacterial infections, you should be wary of fungal and parasitic fish infections that might threaten your catfishes.


BUSINESS NAME:  Holly Fish and Sea Foods Ltd.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Our Products and Services
  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • Business Structure
  • Market Analysis
  • Sales and Marketing Strategy
  • Sales Forecast
  • Financial Plan
  • Conclusion


Holly Fish and Sea Foods Ltd is a duly registered and licensed business that is set to operate in inner city, Arizona, United States. The business is a private owned fish farming business that will be owned and managed by the James Hamilton family.

The business will focus on raising various species of fish, and the sales of numerous sea foods such as oysters, shrimp, molluscs, clams, goldfish, etc. In our first five years, we will operate on a medium-scale, after which, we will expand our fish farming business into a much grander scale; providing our products and services to customers all over the United States.

As part of our plans and preparation in starting up our fish farming business, we have been able to come up with an estimate of the startup capital that will be required. A total sum of $550,000 will be needed to startup our fish farming business.

Holly Fish and Sea Foods Ltd is a fish farming business that will put everything in place for the raising of fish and the sales of sea foods to consumers all over Arizona and the United States. In the course of running our fish farming business, we will focus on the following:

  • Growing and selling of finfish such as catfish, tilapia, trout, etc.
  • Growing and selling of ornamental fish such as goldfish.
  • Growing and selling of shellfish such as oysters, shrimp, mollusc, clams, etc.

Our vision in the fish farming industry is to establish a business which will become reputed as the number one leading fish farming business in Arizona, and among the top five (5) leading fish farming brands in the whole of the United States. We have set out some business objectives which we hope to accomplish as best as possible:

  • To provide shipping services to our customers at affordable fees.
  • To report more than $15,000 in sales every month.
  • To sustain an inventory revenue ratio of six.

Our fish farming business will be a standard fish farm which will be focused on providing quality products and services, that cannot be found anywhere else, to customers. We will be solely focused on providing nothing short of the best of our products – a variety of species – to our customers wherever they are in the United States. Our products and services will be distinct from the usual ones customers get from other fish farms.

Holly Fish and Sea Foods Ltd is a fish farming business that will be a private owned business. We have established the structure of the business in such a way as to facilitate our business growth and success.

The fish farming business will be owned by the James Hamilton Family. The business will first be run and operated by Mr and Mrs James Hamilton within the first five years, after which, more employees will be employed to handle the business as it continues to expand. In view of the above, we will hire employees to take up the following positions:

  • Fish and Sea food Farm Manager.
  • Cashier / Accountant
  • Sales Executives
  • Field Employees.

Market Trend

One notable trend in the industry is the fact that fish farmers and health experts leverage on the health benefits of fish and sea foods in promoting the fish farming business and products. Fish is not only a very great source of protein, but also a very healthy source of fats and omega fatty acids.

Target Market

Our target market encompasses the following groups of people:

  • Consumers
  • Industries
  • Distributors
  • Agriculture merchants.

In the course of running our fish farming business, we have been able to hire experts who will provide their services in setting out fine fish sales and marketing strategies to help us beat the competition and always stay ahead. We have been able to come up with the following strategies to promote our fish farming business:

  • We will ensure to first introduce our fish farming business to prospective customers in the whole of Arizona. We will do this by handing out our business fliers and encouraging our friends and family to make use of word of mouth to help us promote our business.
  • We will place adverts on business magazines, local newspapers, and radio and television stations in Arizona.
  • We will create a website for our fish farming business, and take advantage of the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook in promoting our business.
  • We will create special promo and loyalty programmes to build a good customer base.

Below is the sales forecast for our fish farming business for the next three years:

Year One                    $280,000

Year Two                   $560,000

Year Three                 $850,000

This sales forecast is a calculated estimate which is only based on some reliable sources.

Source of Startup Capital

A total sum of $550,000 is what we will require to start up our fish farming business in Arizona. This startup capital will be used properly to get all the needed equipment and resources in place to get started with our fish farming business.

The startup capital will be sourced from our savings in the bank, from my extended family and from my trusted friends. We have been able to come up with $200,000, which we hope to raise to $250,000 as part of our contributions. $200,000 will be borrowed from my extended family, while the final $100,000 will be borrowed from both of my close friends, Teague and Louis.

This business plan is a fish farming business plan. It bears the business title “Holly Family Farms Ltd”. The fish farming business will be owned by the James Hamilton family. It will be located at a very large plot located in inner city, Arizona, United States. The startup capital that is needed for this fish farming business to start is a total sum of $550,000, which will be sourced from various sources.


Free Sample Business Plan in Fish Farming: Fish Farming Business Plan Template

Executive Summary

Commercial fish farming business plan  free download sample
Enactus is an international student run non-profit organization focused on improving the quality of life and living standards for those in need. With the aid of academic advisors and business experts students aim to design sustainable projects for target groups, focused on empowering and improving their lives.

Integrated fish farm business plan
In contrast to other forms of humanitarian organisations, Enactus aims to empower the target communities through the use of social entrepreneurship. Guided by academic advisors and business experts students of Enactus design a business approach which will provide the target groups with the necessary skills and resources for self-sufficiency. We, at University College Utrecht, are one of the 17 Enactus teams based in the Netherlands. We are part of the Fish Farm Project, a project focused on building a fishfarm for Red Hill Baraka School to generate income to fund scholarships for orphaned and needy children.

Fish farm Business Plan

Recently the school has started fish-farming tilapia, to feed the children at school. This led to the idea that fish farming could be used to help the school less reliant on sponsorship. If the fish farm could be expanded to a larger scale it would be able to be turned into a business which should be able to generate profit that would enable the school to become more self-sufficient.
This is where Enactus UCU came in. Through personal connections a board member came into contact with Lazarus and proposed a project wherein Enactus UCU would design a recirculating tilapia fish farm business plan and help raise funds to make fish farming a sustainable source of income for the school.

Design and Development

Current Situation
Initially the plan was to build the plan was to build a fish farm on the compound of the school, this was however was not possible. After re-evaluating, a decision was made to build the fish farm, on a quarter acre plot in Eldoret, West Kenya. Eldoret is currently the fastest growing urban center in Kenya and the fifth largest city in the country. Re-locating the fish farm to Eldoret was a strategic move, which significantly cut costs of rent, as well as Eldoret having a suitable temperature for growth of tilapia.

In the model, the fish farm project should be up and running around June/July. Having recently invested 2500€, land has been rented and fenced off. An employee, Kalistas, with previous experience in fish farming, has been hired and placed on site, where he shall continue with preparations of the startup of the farm. Here a house and toilet have also been built to accommodate him, as he shall be working here fulltime. Through the help of a government initiative; a rural electrification program, there has been power installation.

Future Plans
The next steps shall be the excavation of fish farm pond that shall be 8 by 21 meters, which shall have a depth of 3 meters in the deep-end and a shallow-end of 1.5 meters. Excavation shall be performed through voluntary manual labor. A greenhouse to further stabilize temperatures shall cover the fish tank. A borehole will need to be drilled and a water tank shall be installed; this will be the source of water for the fish farm.

Fortunately, Lazarus has a good working relation with Jambo Fish Farm (Nairobi), an expert business focused on fish farming in Africa, and through them aeration filters, greenhouse materials, and other necessary equipment shall be purchased. The project shall not be involved in breeding fish, as this would incur to many start up costs, rather juvenile fish shall be bought and developed. Initial stocks of juvenile fish, as well as fish feed shall also be purchased from Jambo. The juvenile fish will be transported from Nairobi to Eldoret using the school bus, whereas the fish feed, which shall be bought in bulk every two weeks, shall be transported on shuttles (a transport system used to transport goods in Kenya) from Nairobi to Eldoret. Additionally, Aquaspark, a global aquaculture investment fund based in Utrecht7hj, is advising project fish farm.

In the timeline, the fish farm will be fully functional by July 2015. The aim is to have two harvests of 6000 fish each per year, with the first harvest in January 2016. Tilapia grows to their full size, between one and one and a half kilograms in approximately 6 months. The first harvest would therefore be in January 2016.

Action and Marketing Plan

Start up Costs
We, as Enactus University College Utrecht, will supply the Redhill Baraka School with the financial means to set up the fish farm in the first place. In the table below, you can find the breakdown of all these costs. All the costs shown here are final estimates, as given to us by our Kenyan partners. As can be seen, the total costs of getting the first pond up and running will be €10.148. These costs include, apart from the much needed building materials, the payment of the rent of the plot of land on which the fish farm is situated for the first two years, the payment of the loan of the guardian for the first nine months, and the maintenance costs for the first six months.

Revenue and Profit

The most important part is of course the eventual profit that will be made by this fish farm. Our Fish farm would produce about 5800 full grown Tilapia filets every half year (that is because on average 200 out of the 6000 fish will not be suitable for sale). For the sale of the fish, we have made an arrangement with the urban butchery ‘’Super Cut Ltd.’’, who are willing to buy our fish at 280 KSH per kilo. However, we are also looking into the possibility of selling the fish to local fishmongers in Eldoret itself, what would increase the selling price even more.

When the Tilapia fish are full-grown, they weigh about 1-1,5 kilos each. Taking an average weight of 1,25 KG, this would come down to a revenue of approx. 2,030,000 KSH per half year, or 4,060,000 KSH per year. This is a conservative estimate, using the lower price offered by Super Cut Ltd, the fact that some fish might weigh less than others and the fact that some fish might not be suitable for sale. This comes down to a yearly revenue of approx. €39,077.

The yearly costs consist of the rent of the land at €242 a year (even though we would pay for the first two years of rent), the monthly salary of the supervisor on site at 87*12 = €1044, the maintenance costs (including fish feed) of 213*12= €2556, miscellaneous and unforeseen costs (including electricity) at €2500, and the initial fish stock of 6000 fish one every six months, coming down to 2*900= €1800. The total yearly costs will thus be €7142, which results in a yearly profit of €30,935.

Long-term plan

A second fish farm
In anticipation of growth, a quarter acre of land was rented to allow for enough room to build a second fish farm. Furthermore, the start up costs of this would be significantly lower. Electrical installation, land, bore hole and water tank will all have already been paid for. Ideally a second fish farm would be up and running in June 2016, allowing Redhill Baraka School to benefit from four harvests of fish per year. This would equate to approximately €60,000 profits per year. A second fish farm would allow for four staggered harvests per year, which would not only increase profits but importantly also be a fail-safe and provide an economical buffer in case one of the harvests got infected by disease.

Closing remarks
With €30,935 as yearly profit from a single fish farm, the Redhill Baraka School will be able to become fully self-sufficient. We would therefore like to ask you to help us make this wonderful project happen, and give the students of RBS the chance to get a good education, and the opportunity for a better life!

Free fish farming business plan
Do you need a free business plan for fish farming? This free guide can be used as a template when setting up your farm.




Mission Statement of Business
State clearly in 2-3 sentences what you intend to do in business.

1. Executive summary
a) Description of your proposed business
1) describe your product or business
2) support with diagrams, illustrations or pictures (if available)
b) Summary of your proposed marketing plan- design ponds or tanks to a size that all the fish produced
could be marketed in one day.
1) describe the market you’re aiming for- look for value added, niche markets for catfish or tilapia.
2) outline the way you plan to reach your market – The fish farmers should seek to reach buyers through as
many approaches as possible to provide the best profit, such as direct sales at the farm as well as through
c) Summary of your financial estimates
1) state the total sales you aim to reach in each of the first three years
2) state the estimated profit for each of the first three years
3) state the estimated starting capital you’ll need

2.Statement of objectives
a) Statement of the desirability of your product or service
1) describe the advantages your product or service has, its improvements over existing products or services
2) state the long-range objectives and the short-range objectives of your proposed business
3) describe your qualifications to run the business
4) describe the ‘character’ you want for your business, the image you’d like your customers to see, such as hygienic conditions of highest standard, live fish sales with cleaning and dressing of fish as per customer preference. For example, samples of cooked fish could be given to customers along with recipes.

3.Background of proposed business
a) Brief summary of existing conditions in the type of ‘industry’ you’re intending to enter
1) where the product or service is now being used
2) how the product or service is now being used
b) Detailed explanation of your place in the industry
1) describe the projections and trends for the industry
2) describe competition you face
3) state your intended strategy for meeting competition
4) describe the special qualities of your product or service that make it unique

4.Marketing strategy
a) A description of your marketing strategy
1) design the farm with different sizes of ponds to meet different market demands and be able to sell all fish
harvested from a particular pond.
2) describe the market you plan to reach
3) keep costs low with feeding of quality fish feeds by a feed manager who feeds by feeding response
4) under price the competition and make profit by tight management and low costs with lowest Feed
Conversion Ratios.
5) describe in detail how you plan to distribute your product or service (retail shops, door to door, etc.)
6) describe the share of the market you expect to capture

5. Selling tactics
a) An outline of the activities to be used in selling the product or service
1) state the methods you expect to use to promote your product or service (word of mouth, radio,
newspapers, etc.)
2) include a sample brochure or other promotional literature
3) present any data which supports your ability to meet your sales goals (i.e. actual orders, potential
customers, etc.)
4) explain the margins of safety you’ve allowed in your sales forecasts
b) Propose entering different fish markets as in the North and SE, where prices remain high.

6.Plan of operation
a) Description of the proposed organisation
1) show an organisation chart describing the needed business functions and relationships
2) describe the key positions and identify the persons to fill them
3) list equipment or facilities and the space and location required
b) Farm pond operations
1) stagger pond stocking to allow one pond to be harvested per month, to maintain cash flow
2) manage to maintain low feed conversions and best management practices.
3) plan to purchase fingerlings and stock ponds every month to assure regular harvests
4) maintain proper storage of fish feeds without pests and moisture
5) practice proper sanitation programme of sterilizing tanks and liming ponds before restocking.

7. Supporting data
a) Information required to support the major points in the business plan
1) a set of drawings of the product(s) to be made or a detailed description of the service to be offered
2) show a list of the equipment you’ll require for your business and estimates of the cost of that equipment
3) List the capital equipment you’ll need and its estimated cost.
4) List a price schedule for your product line or service
5) Include your market survey data (perhaps from your focus group)
6) supply the following financial data:
– projected statement and balance sheet for the first two years by the month
– Income statement for two years
– cash flow projection for two years

8. Conclusions and summary
a) statement of proposed approach in starting the new business
1) state the total capital you’ll need and the safety factor you’ve used
2) state how much profit you expect and when you expect to show it
3) decide what percentage of ownership you want for yourself and your partners
4) indicate the total capital you’ll need and how it’s to be made up:
– your share of the starting investment
– how much you’ll need from others and when you’ll need the money
– state what share of the business you’ll give to investors or lenders
5) state your planned schedule for starting your business

Download: 15 Practical E-books on Starting a Fish Farm

Taking everything into account, I need to state completely that catfish cultivating is an undiscovered goldmine. If you need a fish farming business plan with a 3-year financial plan to secure funding, contact me on 08032176523.