With good management, your fish should be ready to harvest within six to nine months after stocking. By this time, tilapia should have reached a size of approximately 250-300g and catfish a size of 250-500g, depending on their size at stocking, the density at which they were stocked, and water temperatures during the growing period.
Preparing for the harvest
- Make marketing arrangements well in advance of the harvest date.
- Plan to harvest your fish early in the morning or early in the evening.
- Stop applying fertilizers one to two weeks prior to harvesting.
- Stop feeding the fish two days before harvesting.
- Set up all harvesting and transportation equipment well in advance. Contact fisheries personnel if you need guidance to acquire the right equipment for harvesting.
- Prepare the manpower.
- Partially drain the pond very early in the morning on the day of harvest.
- Begin seining in the shallow end of the pond and work towards the deep end.
- Work carefully, disturbing the pond bottom as little as possible.
- If possible, finish the seine haul near a water source in the deep end.
- If possible, spray a stream of fresh water over the fish while they are being held and handled.
- Gradually lower the water as you near completion of the harvest.
- Use a dipnet to move fish from the seine to buckets on the pond bank.
- Use cast nets, lift nets, hoop nets, or gill nets for harvesting if ponds are too deep or are not drainable, or if you do not have a seine.