We have been farming fish for nearly 30 years. During this time we have had good years and bad years for production. For it to be a good year we need normal weather patterns.
In the Spring normal temperatures will allow the fish to come into breeding condition and then behave themselves so we can achieve a continuous process of spawning from April to June . We produce 11 different ‘species’ of fish which all have to be spawned in sequence. Following spawning we need warm spring temperatures so that the ponds warm up quickly so that the young fry start to grow quickly.
We need rain to keep the ponds topped up and good weather for our customers to go out and buy our fish, freeing up space for the new stock. Sunshine and normal rainfall patterns during the summer should ensure all is well.
This season started OK, but then we were aware that there was no rain – we were even interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live to comment on the drought. No sooner had we realised we were short of water the rains came. Two months later they stopped!
The best part of the season was gone, sales were non-existent and fry had to be stocked into cold ponds which affected survival and growth. The rest of the summer was a little better, but we found it the most difficult summer ever to achieve our goals.
Now the autumn harvest is over we can look back and think we were very lucky to achieve what we have. A farm full of healthy fish ready for market. We are satisfied that against all the odds we pulled through and can at least think if we survived this year we can survive anything!