Animal Husbandry

How to Start a Profitable Fish Farming Business in India?

Updated on 16th May, 2024, By Akshay Pokharkar
How to Start a Profitable Fish Farming Business in India?
The aquaculture industry is growing fast, and fish farming in India has emerged as one of the most attractive business opportunities. With an increasing demand for fish and fish products, this business has attracted several enthusiasts.

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The aquaculture industry is growing fast, and fish farming in India has emerged as one of the most attractive business opportunities. The fish market size in India in 2023 has reached 20.7 million tons. The market size for 2032 is expected to reach 41.4 million tons, showing a 7.8 per cent compound annual growth rate for this period.

Understanding the Fish Farming

Fish farming, also known as pisciculture, is a type of Aquaculture. It is the practice of raising and rearing of fish in freshwater environment like natural lake or ponds. It is done in an enclosed system, which contributes significantly to global fish production for consumption. Some of the commonly farmed fish species include rohu, cod, salmon, tuna, and trout.

Types of Fish Farming in India

There are two types of fish farming commonly practised in India. These are brackish water fish farming and freshwater fish farming.

Brackish water fish farming aims to breed fish species inhabiting coastal regions like tiger prawn, whereas freshwater fish farming aims to breed freshwater fish like rohu and catla.

How to Start Fish Farming

Understanding different aspects of fish farming before starting the business is crucial. It involves the initial investment, the overall infrastructure cost, expertise and other aspects.

The cost of starting fish business in India varies based on the area finalised for the business and the type of fish to be farmed. However, the general cost can vary between INR 50,000* to INR 2 lakhs*.

Research and Planning

Before starting any business, detailed research and planning are crucial. Some of the steps involved in this stage are:

  • Identify the fish variety, market demand, and tools, training and equipment required for starting fish farming.
  • Research the licences and permits needed and government support for the fish farming business.
  • Finalise the location, size and resources for the fish farm.
  • Prepare a business plan document containing the overall aspect of budgeting involving cost of fish, infrastructure and operational cost.

Choosing the Correct Type for Fish Farming

A few types of fish farming are most popular: catfish farming, ornamental fish farming, tilapia fish farming, and prawn farming, some of the types raised in business. Each type has its own merits, and you can choose one as per your research and market understanding.

  • Catfish farming can be quickly started at a lower cost and on a small scale.
  • Ornamental fish farming has grown over the years and involves breeding fish for aquariums as these are decorative and colourful.
  • Tilapia fish farming is famous for its high nutrient content, like protein. These are large, have a delicious taste and grow quickly.
  • Prawn demand in the global market is rising, and this farming can help meet local and domestic needs.

Tools, Training and Equipment

Fish farming requires specific skills to ensure success in the business. You can go for a government sponsored training under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. These trainings are aimed at imparting fish farming skills.

Besides, you need to be aware of tools and equipment, technological advancements, and legal compliances required for starting a fish farming business.

Licensing and Permit

Starting a business requires obtaining licences and permits from the authorities. Some of these necessary for fish farming are as follows:

  • No objection certificate from the local authority.
  • Fish farming registration.
  • Non-Encumbrance certificate

Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure involves everything that will help ensure successful fish farming, such as finding a location, pond construction and water management.

Location Selection: Identifying a location most suitable for fish farming is essential for the business's success. An area with a steady water source, efficient drainage and accessibility to the market is an ideal choice. The location should be capable of efficiently catering for the increasing demand.

Pond and Water Management: It is necessary to understand the need for outdoor or indoor tanks. These can be set up based on the type and requirement of the fish. The ponds should be of the correct size and depth, allowing efficient water movement. Using a filter will ensure clean water supply for the fish and keep oxygen levels in check. Regular monitoring of the water's acidic nature can help prevent fish diseases.

Government Schemes, Subsidies and Loans

The central government provides a range of loan facilities or subsidies under various Government Schemes to promote fish farming  business. These schemes are:

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): It aims to bring overall development in fish production. The government offers a subsidy under this scheme ranging from 40 to 60 per cent of the total cost.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF): It aims to fill the gaps in fishing infrastructure and achieve a sustainable growth of 8-9 per cent to take the fish production level to 20 million tonnes by 2022-23. It offers finance for infrastructure development from institutions like NABARD and Scheduled Commercial Banks.

Blue Revolution Schemes: Launched in 2014, this scheme aims to increase fish production. The Government of India has launched the Mission Cage Culture 2022 under this scheme. Under this scheme, farmers get technical guidance and financial assistance in constructing or renovating fish farm infrastructure. The assistance varies on a case-to-case basis.

Monitoring and Management of Fish

Monitoring: Regular inspection and monitoring help identify any disease outbreak and prevent any significant damage to fish growth.

Seed Selection: Select healthy and superior fish seeds and develop a balanced feeding routine based on the nutritional requirements of your chosen fish species. Overfeeding should be prevented, and quantities should be adjusted accordingly.

Harvesting and Sales

Harvesting time varies due to factors like fish species or market demand. The harvesting can be done by using nets to reduce any damage to the fish during harvesting. Once the harvesting is done, ensure a proper transportation system for efficient fish distribution to local markets, hotels and restaurants. This will help increase the sales. Emphasise freshness and quality to develop customer trust. Build a network over time to increase fish farming sales and profit.

Challenges in Fish Farming

Similar to any other business, there are also some challenges in the fish farming business. These challenges are:

Initial investment: The upfront cost for equipment purchase, infrastructure development and other crucial resources is significantly high.

Diseases: Fishes are vulnerable to various diseases like parasitic, viral and bacterial infections.

Water Quality: Managing optimal water quality for fish farms is challenging in different weather and when there are multiple types of fish to look for.

Market Fluctuations: Fish prices can fluctuate significantly due to competition, market demand, or unforeseen events.

However, these issues can be significantly mitigated by taking some measures. Fish farmers can take advantage of government schemes and subsidies to reduce the upfront cost of the business. Constant and regular monitoring can help properly manage the fish's health. Proper knowledge regarding water management can prevent any issue, and reducing primary dependence on market conditions by diversifying the catered market can prevent significant business losses.


Fish farming in India offers an attractive business opportunity because of the growing demand for fish and fish items. With the help of government subsidies and schemes, ambitious fish farmers can start their fish farming business. However, it is crucial to understand the different aspects associated with fish farming before starting the business, such as initial investment, infrastructure development, seed selection, monitoring, and marketing. Proper planning and best practices can help the business thrive and ensure sustainable growth of the fish farming business.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Start a Profitable Fish Farming Business in India?

1. What is fish farming?

Fish farming, a type of aquaculture, is a process of raising fish for consumption.

Starting fish farming require proper research and planning, training and sufficient knowledge, initial investment, and infrastructure development.

Fish farming is commonly called aquaculture or aquafarming.

Yes, fish farming is a profitable business in India.

Yes, fish farming is a sustainable business with proper planning and sufficient knowledge.

The land requirement for fish farming depends on the pond size and the fish number to be reared.

The government offers subsidy under PMMSY scheme within a range of 40 to 60 per cent.

The equipment needed for fish farming includes, Water tester, aerators, fish feeders, pond pumps, fish graders, thermometers and generators.

Akshay Pokharkar
Published By
Akshay Pokharkar
Akshay holds a B.Tech in agriculture engineering from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth. He is an expert in tractors and implements. With over 6 years of experience in the tractor industry, he is known to simplify even the most complex technical things. An avid YouTuber by choice, he is currently working as a Senior Content Manager.
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