aquaculture business ideas

Best 11 Profitable Aquaculture Business Ideas

Aquaculture in India is a very important economic activity and booming sector with a wide range of emerging potential. An unparalleled average annual growth rate of over 4.5 percent over the years has placed the country in the forefront of global fish production, only after China.

India ranks second in the world in total fish production with an annual fish production of about 9.06 million metric tons. Appropriate technologies, financial investments, and entrepreneurial enthusiasm primarily account for this situation Indian aquaculture industry contributes to food and nutritional security and employment, supports livelihoods, and raises the socioeconomic status of poor fishing communities.

Different Types of Aquaculture

Freshwater Aquaculture

Freshwater aquaculture production contributes nearly 55 per cent of the total fish production in India. This type of aquaculture involves the breeding of freshwater fish like carp, Catla, rohu, Magur, freshwater prawn, freshwater pearl culture and ornamental fish farming. Basically, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan grow Katla in tanks and reservoirs as well. Freshwater aquaculture is largely based on organic fertilization, but to increase productivity and fully exploit the potential of aquacultural waters, intensive use of supplementary feed is necessary.

Brackish water aquaculture

Brackishwater aquaculture (External website that opens in a new window) involves breeding of fish that habitat the sea like sea bass, gray mullet, tiger shrimp and mud crabs. It is practiced in States like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Goa.

It is also practiced at three scales, namely, subsistence-oriented traditional farming by small and marginal farmers, semi-intensive farming in the small scale sector, and high-tech, intensive farming by corporate bodies. Fish farmers use a mixture of oil cakes, rice bran, locally available snail, clam or mussel meat and buffalo meat to feed the fish. Additionally, you can blend this mixture with tapioca paste to form small balls. You can place them in pottery bowls at marked feeding sites.


Though India has a large amount of coastal belt, mariculture is not being properly explored. Mariculture is a special type of aquaculture. It involves the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean, an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or raceways which are filled with seawater. Some of the suitable species for mariculture are Seabass, Bigeye tuna, Cobia, Grouper, Snapper, Pompano, Salmon, Pearlspot, Mullet, and Pomfret.

Things To Consider In Starting Aquaculture Business

  • First of all, you will need to monitor temperature variations in water. In case temperature of water improves (20 – 25 degrees Celsius) particularly in the northern region, farmers may resume fish breeding and culture activity.
  • In case farmers have produced fish seeds in their hatcheries, they should ensure availability of sufficient water in the nurseries before transferring the seed into nursery ponds.
  • Farmers while stocking the fingerlings in the pond for fish culture should monitor the quality, temperature, and level of water. The ideal temperature for fish breeding and culture varies between 25 – 30 degrees Celsius. In the case of, the water level goes below 1 meter, you can go for early harvest and discontinue culture activity or maintain minimum water level to harvest full yield.
  • Proper skill and knowledge about the farming practice of the particular species are important.
  • You must consider the climate, soil condition, and water PH balance before selecting the product
  • Farm owners must prepare a business plan for any aquaculture business before starting. Total financial cost calculation along with ROI is important.
  • Before get into any commercial aquaculture business, find out the market. And fix the marketing strategy. Simply where you will be selling your products and to whom?

List of 11 Aquaculture Business Ideas

#1. Carp Fish Farming

Catla (Catla Catla), rohu (Labeo Rohita) and mrigal (Cirrhinus Mrigala) contribute the bulk of production to the extent of 70 to 75 percent of the total freshwater fish production. Next, most produced carp fishes are silver carp, grass carp, common carp, and catfishes.

Generally, carp fish holds a second important group contributing the balance of 25 to 30%. These are the most produced carp fish in India. You can start carp fish farming in small and large scale also. Additionally, you can grow these fishes in ponds and tanks equally.

#2. Catfish Farming

Commercial catfish farming is one of the most profitable businesses in India. Additionally, you can grow catfish in ponds, cement tanks and even in plastic tanks. Catfish has a great demand and price in the market. There are several hybrid varieties are available in the market. Hybrid catfishes have better growth, higher survival rates and better meat yield than purebred channel catfish.

#3. Crab Farming

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the states where crab farming has gained exponential popularity. A package of technology for field culturing of crab in coastal ponds as well as for production of seed in the hatchery is available and envisage the scope for’ the large scale development of crab farming in the country.

Mud crab has potential export market worldwide. Commercial crab farming business is developing the lifestyle of the people of coastal areas. By proper care and management, you can earn more from crab farming business than any other aquaculture business.

#4. Fish Hatchery

You can categorize the hatchery activities for fish breeding and seed production as (i) induced breeding of Indian major carps (Catla Catla, Labeorohita, and Cirrhinus Mrigala), minor carps (C. rReba L. bata, and Puntius sarana) and Chinese carps and strain development of Indian major, minor, and Chinese carps; (ii) intensive rearing of seed of these carps; (iii) breeding and seed production of air-breathing catfishes (Clarias batrachus and Heteropeustes fossilis); (iv) breeding and seed production of giant freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii); and, (v) breeding and seed production of ornamental fish (Colisa sp.).

#5. Fresh Water Prawn Farming

The freshwater prawn farming has received increased attention only in the last two decades due to its high consumer demand. The giant river prawn, Macrobrachium Rosenbergii is the largest and fastest growing prawn species. Additionally, you can culture either under monoculture or polyculture with major carps.

Freshwater prawns are reared in a variety of freshwater enclosures, including tanks, irrigation ditches, cages, pens, reservoirs, and natural waters; the commonest form being earthen ponds. Normal rearing methods comprise various combinations of the formerly used “continuous” (ponds operated indefinitely, with regular cull-harvesting and restocking) and “batch” (single stocking, single harvesting) systems; these are known as “combined systems”.

#6. Ornamental Fish Farming

Keeping colorful and fancy fishes known as ornamental fishes or aquarium fishes. Aquarium fishes are mainly grouped into two categories, viz., Oviparous (egg – layers) and Viviparous (live-bearers). Further, you can categorize the freshwater ornamental fish varieties broadly into Tropical and Coldwater species also. Management of these two categories is different in nature. In India, you can get financial assistance from NABARD for ornamental fish farming.

Suggested Read: Profitable Fish Farming Business Ideas

#7. Pearl Farming

Pearl culture is gaining rapid popularity in India. Basically, the pearl has a good domestic demand in the country. China and Japan are the two major countries who export pearl in India. Pearl farming is an attractive business venture because of the high value of the final product.

Although black pearls vary greatly in value depending on the size and quality, large, round pearls of high quality can sell for very high prices. One of the principal advantages of pearl production is that the final product is lightweight and nonperishable.

#8. Seaweeds Production

Seaweed has many unique properties with innumerable applications in a large number of industries. It is considered as the medicinal food of the 21st century. The bioactive compounds found in seaweeds await a major breakthrough for a variety of applications in the medical field. Agar, carrageenan and alginate are popular examples of seaweeds—these have been used as food for human beings, feed for animals, fertilisers for plants and source of various chemicals.

#9. Shrimp Farming

Freshwater shrimp farming and brackish water shrimp farming both are profitable aquaculture business in India. In addition, you can start this as the small scale also. Commercial shrimp farming demands adequate knowledge about the farming technology.

Read: How to Start a Profitable Shrimp Farming Business

Shrimp farming subsidy is available for various items like pond development, construction of new ponds, first-year inputs etc. under a centrally sponsored subsidy scheme implemented by the majority of the State Governments through FFDA/ BFFDA’s for different categories of farmers.

#10. Tiger Prawn Farming

Brackish water aquaculture in India is concentrated around the giant tiger prawn (P.monodon) as the single most important species. The growth of giant tiger prawns in ponds is usually much faster than in the wild. Additionally, you can grow tiger prawns from postlarvae to a market size of 30g or more in 3-6 months.

Generally, it depends on the conditions of the pond, especially temperature and stocking density. The optimum temperature ranges for growth of tiger prawns and school prawns are 25-35ºC and 21-27ºC respectively.

Related: Small Scale Herbal Products Business Opportunities

#11. Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia is one of the most popular fish of the common people in India. The business is no doubt very lucrative. The most interesting thing is, you can grow tilapia at home on a small farm. And also, you can grow commercially with a large farming area. Though tilapia is the second most farmed fish in the world, India does not farm Tilapia to that extent commercially. Interested entrepreneurs for this type of aquaculture business, apply for financial assistance for various items like Pond Development, construction of New Ponds, the first year inputs etc. under a centrally sponsored subsidy scheme