Seabass farming generally requires a higher level of management than a conventional aquaculture enterprise. Moreover, it requires quite different types of management skills. However, at this early stage of development, seabass production, both fingerlings and marketable fish enterprises, show the promising future of the industry.
Fig. 24 shows the typical cost and return analysis for one private hatchery unit under experienced management in Thailand. The advantage of hatchery in Thailand is that, the hatchery can dispose excess newly hatched larvae to the farmers who are operating small nursery for their own use. They in turn, can sell their surplus to near-by farmers. The hatchery in this case, maintains a certain number of larvae that it requires. The financial analysis shows that net income of 0.5 USD per 1 USD investment can be obtained, thus, fully demonstrating its commercial viability. Operating cost of hatchery operation is fairly high, it contributed about 67% of the total cost. The cost of Artemia cyst (26.3%), salary skilled and experienced workers (15%), and electricity (9.5%) are major expenditures of the enterprise. Meantime, interest rate from a sizable expenditures for fixed cost (23.7%) because of high bank interest rate.
Despite the high operating cost, profitability of the enterprise can still be increased. By enhancing the survival of larvae, there will be corresponding increase in larval production. Hence, the same facilities can be used to produce many more fingerlings during hatchery season. With a production of 2 million 2.5 cm size larvae, the capital cost involved and the facilities used can be substantially reduced without deminishing the output. However, this will depend on the skill and experience of the hatchery technicians.
Grow-out of seabass has also proven to be an economically viable industry in the Southeast Asian Region. The cost benefit analysis in Fig. 25 used the data obtained from private farm both pond and cage culture in Thailand. Pond culture is based on one hectare pond with stocking desnsity of 3/m2, while cage culture based on one farm which consisted of ten 5 × 5 × 2 m cages at Satul Province with stocking density ofm 40/m2 or 1000 fish per cage. The marketable size is 500–600 g, culture period is 6 months at 2 croppings per year. Feeding depends entirely on marine trash fish with food conversion rate ranging from 8 to 10:1.
|Newly hatched larvae (1 day old) 10 M. (1,000/2 USD.)||20,000|
|0.5 cm. larvae (15 days old) 2 m. (1,000/6 USD.)||12,000|
|2.5 cm. larvae (40–50 days old) 2 M. (1,000/100 USD)||200,000|
|Land Cost (10,000 × 18% interest)||1,800||(1.2%)|
|Hatchery construction (50,000 × 10% depreciation)||5,000||(3.3%)|
|Equipment (20,000 × 20% depreciation)||4,000||(2.6%)|
|Interest (200,000 × 18%)||36,000||(23.7%)|
|Property tax (1.5%)||150||(0.1%)|
|Sales tax (1%)||2,320||(1.5%)|
|Fuel & oil||1,000||(0.7%)|
|Labor chief technical 400 × 12 = 4,800|
technician 300 × 3 × 12 = 10,800
workers 100 × 2 × 12 = 7,200
|Materials and supply||5,000||(3.3%)|
|D.||Total cost (B + C)||151,970|
|E.||Net operating cost (A - C)||127,300|
|F.||Net income (A - B - C)||78,030|
|G.||Income over total cost||51.34%|
Figure 24 The cost and return of seabass hatchery base on Thailand condition Fry are sold in several stages to prevent over stocking.
In Fig. 25, it shows that profitability of seabass culture is highly influenced by the cost of feed, 42% and 43%; seed, 27% and 16%, of the total expenditure of pond and cage culture respectively. Interest rate form a sizeable expenditure of 16% and 19%, respectively, for the two culture systems because of high bank interest rate. It is apparent that the annual net income from cage culture is almost the same as pond culture despite the total operating cost of the latter is about double of cage culture. The difference is attributed to the fact that in cage culture, there is no land cost and stocking density is higher. However, the life span of cage is shorter and lasts about three years. With profit margin of 26.3% and 28.5%, for pond and cage culture systems, respectively, seabass culture has shown to be one of the lucrative aquaculture enterprises.