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Seabass (Lates calcarifer) culture enterprise is one of the most dynamic and potentially profitable segments of the brackish and marine water fish farming industry in Southeast Asia. It is a desirable fish with good flesh texture and taste, high market value and market value and demand. It can be reared both in freshwater and seawater conditions. In the past 5 years, over 10,000 farmers engaged in cage culture of seabass and over 20,000 hectares of land have been established in the Region for intensive pond production of the species.

In as much as seabass can now be artificially propagated, the investment for hatchery production is justified which ensures sufficient seed supply to the farming industry. Although the seabass culture industry appears to have a bright prospect, it is still confronted with several constraints. Foremost of these constraints is the shortage of Artemia cyst and also has become very expensive. Artemia naupluii play a significant role in hatchery production for both finfish and crustacean as an important live food organism. It is, therefore, necessary that a cheap and suitable alternative live food organism with similar nutritional value as Artemia must be found and cultured. Otherwise, artificial feed must be used but so far no suitable formulation has been developed yet.

At the present time in some countries, all culture systems for seabass use trash fish as feeds. As the supply of trash fish is limited and expensive, these factors have hampered the growth of the industry. Thus, in addition to finding suitable alternative live food organisms, research work on artificial feeds must be conducted as subsitutes for trash fish.

Another factor that constraints the seabass industry is the lack of organization, communication and marketing channel to date. As a result, prices in the market of food fish as well as fry and fingerlings are not steady.

As long as the above factors remain unsolved, these will slow down the growth of the seabass industry as a whole.

 ItemPond Cages
Marketable fish 14,000 Kg × 3 USD  42,0008,000 Kg × 3 USD24,000
Sub-total A42,000 24,000
B.Fixed Cost   
Land cost (5,000 × 18% interest)      900 (2.7%)lease10
Pond construction (5,000 × 20% depresiation)1,000 (3.0%0cage construction1,667 (8.9%)
Interest (30,000 × 18%)5,400 (16.0%)5,000 × 33.3 depreciation1,667 (8.9%)
Property tax 1.5%      75 (0.2%)Boat & engine 
Sales tax (1%)    240 (1.3%)1000 × 20% depreciation200 (1.1%)
  Interest 2,000 × 18%3,600 (19.2%)
  Sales tax  240 (1.3%)
Sub-total B7,795     5,717
C.Operating cost   
Seed (1,000/15 USD) 60 × 150      9,000 (27.0%)20 × 1503,000 (  6.0%)
Feed    14,000 (42,1%) 8,000 (42.8%)
Labour 80 × 12       960 (2.9%)    960 (  5.1%)
Fuel and Lubrication       500 (1.5%)    500 (  2.7%0
Maintenance and miscellaneous    1,000 (3.0%)    500 (  2.7%)
Sub-total25,460 12,960   
D.Total coast (B + C)33,255 18,677   
E.Net operating income (A - C)16,540 11,040   
F.Net Income (A-B-C)  8,745 5,323  
G.Net income over cost   26.3% 28.5% 

Figure 25 Comparison of cost and return between pond and cages culture in Thailand.


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