Time frame: Variable.
It is impossible to give a time frame for stocking ponds since this will take a different amount of time for each trainee. Some factors that affect the amount of time needed are where the fish are being obtained, whether trainees are working alone or in teams, whether each trainee will obtain all of his/her fish from one location, the distance the fish must be moved, and the amount of fish the trainee stocks. Although individual time frames cannot be predicted, the staff should set a specific date by which all ponds must be stocked.
- Get trainees' ponds stocked with fish;
- Obtain hands-on experience in harvesting, handling and moving fish;
- Learn through experience the importance of planning and organization when moving fish.
Overview: This is a field activity during which trainees stock their ponds based on decisions they made in the development of their management plans. For many, it will be their first experience actually working with harvesting equipment and handling fish. They will manage the ponds throughout the remainder of the training program.
1. The trainee submits a stocking request statement to a designated staff member after completing the stocking plan and being instructed to do so by the trainer with whom he/she has been working. The staff member informs the trainee of the location of the fish stocks, and tells the trainee whether or not to initiate stocking.
2. If the trainee will be working with other trainees during the stocking process, the trainer informs the trainee of this and instructs him/her to meet with the other team members to plan their work. The trainer states clearly that even if they are working in teams to remove the fish from their present location, each trainee is completely responsible for stocking his/her own pond and for collecting any data on the fish.
3. Trainees requisition the necessary equipment and commence stocking their ponds.
4. After stocking is completed, each trainee is required to turn in a statement describing exactly what they actually stocked, i.e., the number of fish, the individual weights and the total weight. Remind trainees to put their pond number and the stocking date on the statement as well.
Resources and Materials:
• Fish in sufficient numbers, sizes and ages of O. niloticus or O. aureus to stock all ponds and to provide some variety in what different trainees stock (other fish species can be included for diversity or as needed);
• Harvesting equipment as appropriate for the numbers of trainees, the ponds from which fish will be removed, the species, size and amount of fish to be moved. This includes: seine nets, dip nets, baskets, holding cages, tubs, buckets, etc.;
• Equipment for weighing and measuring fish, including scales (should have a variety of scales, some of which can be used to weigh larger fish in buckets of water, others which can weigh very small fish), measuring boards or rulers, tripods for hanging scales (or materials that can be used to make them);
• If trainees need to move the fish a fairly long distance, wheelbarrows may be helpful;
• If fish are to be transported from outside the training site, a vehicle, transport containers and possibly some form of aeration equipment may be appropriate.
• Stocking can be very complicated logistically. One trainer should be designated coordinator, and all fish movement should be through this person. This coordinator must know, in advance, exactly what fish are where, and will need to keep careful records on inventories as they change during stocking;
• It is not always possible, or even desirable, to give trainees exactly what they request. If the size fish the trainee requested is not available, tell the trainee that he/she will have to make the necessary adjustments to the plan using the closest size fish that is available (for example, if the trainee requested 200 fish at 50 grams each, but will need to use 25 gram fish, the stocking number should be increased to 400 fish). If there are not sufficient numbers of fish, the trainee will again need to make adjustments in the plans and predictions based upon what is actually available for stocking.;
• For this first experience in stocking fish, it is preferable to have trainees work alone. However, due to either logistics considerations, time constraints or fish availability, it may be more practical to have trainees work in teams. If this is the case, be sure to give the trainees the instructions mentioned in step number 2, above. If there are not enough fish in the pond from which a team will be obtaining their fish to provide each team member with the amount requested, tell the team to divide the fish proportionately among them based on their requests;
• Since, for many, this will be the first experience harvesting, handling and moving fish, the staff should be prepared to see many mistakes being made. This is an important learning experience and except in very extreme circumstances, the staff should not interfere during the stocking process. Trainees will have an opportunity to reflect upon and critique their own actions shortly after this experience, and will have ample opportunities to apply what they learn and improve their techniques throughout the program.