GROWTH PERFORMANCE AND BLOOD PARAMETERS OF CLARIS GARIPENUS FED GRADED LEVEL OF MELON SHELL AS A REPLACEMENT FOR MAIZE
1.1. Background of the Study
Fish is the primary source of protein for about 950 million people worldwide and represents an important part of the diet of many people, provide about 10% of the animal protein consumed by humans and is a valuable source of minerals and essential fatty acids (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1997). The production of fish for direct human consumption doubled between 1950 and 1970 and has stabilized since then at an average of 9.0kg to 10kg of fish per capita (FAO, 2003). The implication is that Fish consumption per person is on the increase and supply will probably be limited by factors like high cost of feed materials (Obi, Kolo and Oriere 2011). Currently there is a global increase in consumption of food fish will take place largely in the developing countries, where population is growing and higher incomes are allowing purchase of high value fisheries products. However, fish production in the developing nations where fish protein is needed to prevent malnutrition is a key element for food security. A critical area where innovative programmes are needed to increase production is in feed production (FAO, 1997).
Production of fish in homestead fish ponds have been adopted by families as a means of improving family protein intake and income (Eyo, 1995). Yet availability of high quality fish feed is one of the greatest problems that is affecting the expansion of the small scale fish industry in Nigeria. Local production of high quality fish feed using local ingredients has to be encouraged especially extruded (floating) feed to replace the present dependence on imported ones. Floating feed is very suitable for pelagic or surface feeders in the sense that the fish quickly access the feed and do not expend much energy in going to the bottom to source for food ( Orire and Ricketts., 2013). The actual machine for producing floating feed known as extruders (insta PRO 2000) is very expensive and cannot be afforded by our local farmers. Nigeria therefore is a permanent buyer of expanded floating feed at high cost from United State of America and other Western and Asian countries (Falaye, 2009). The Nigerian economic policy should not support such outrageous wastage of our scarce foreign exchange. It is therefore imperative that emphasis should be geared towards the technology of developing floating fish feeds using local non-conventional feed ingredients which are cheap, affordable and do not compromise the quality of compounded diets.