Cashing in on the pet fish market

by

July 29, 2016
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Christopher Stephenson is earning cash from his inner-city backyard through ornamental fish farming.
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Christopher Stephenson is earning cash from his inner-city backyard through ornamental fish farming.
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For many persons, having pet fish in their homes is nothing but a hobby.

However, with the existence of a strong international market for ornamental fish, persons are awaking to the possibility of earning cash from their backyards, and Christopher Stephenson is among them.

"This is not an easy job. It's very hard; you have to have the mindset to deal with this. It is a day-and-night thing," Stephenson said.

With 16 ponds made from water tanks in the back of his Herman Road, Kingston 5 house, Stephenson dedicates his days to ensuring he gets maximum return from his investment.

"The demand for it on the export market is wide. In Jamaica, if all a we decide to do it, we still can't supply the market," Stephenson said.

The peacock breed of fish, which Stephenson grows, are mouthbrooders, which means that they carry their eggs in their mouth. When these eggs have matured, Stephenson catches the breeding fish and open their mouths, allowing the babies to escape into a whole new world.

"You have to dedicate yourself to this. It takes a lot of work, but it also puts your pot on the fire. It is a good investment," Stephenson said.

Admitting that the southern St Andrew belt has done much to earn itself a negative label, Stephenson said that reality could change if more persons take on ventures like ornamental fishing.

The global demand for ornamental fish is said to be about US$6 billion.

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