Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teach a man to fish

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Chinese Proverb

If you've been reading this blog for a while then by now you're familiar with the series of ponds right in the middle of the small farm. Pockets of garden are being developed on selected spots around these ponds to dress up the area and obscure the fact that these are just big holes in the ground filled with brownish-greenish water collected from the rain and from few sources of spring waters.

A visiting friend having a fun time feeding the fishes.

The ponds are stocked with several fish species, mainly tilapia and catfish. There are also other uninvited residents like mudfish and snails. These two are considered pests but are nonetheless edible.

In one of the ponds, the kois seem to be out of place for a pond that houses edible fishes. But for now they share this space since they have no permanent location yet where they can have a pond of their own. They are however peacefully coexisting with the other fishes and just happy to swim with them.

Kois, catfish and tilapias in a frenzied state gobbling up fish pellets.

In my last visit it amazed me that these fishes seem to know when it's feeding time. Mid-morning and late afternoon are the usual schedules for this. As soon as someone stands at the shore of each pond, you would immediately notice ripples on the surface of the water moving toward the person. The fishes begin to surface and congregate at the edge of the pond waiting for the precious dole outs.

A good friend who came with me noticed this too that he found enjoyment in teasing the poor fishes. He would go to the edge of the pond and as soon as the fishes congregate he would leave. After the fishes disperse he would come back and the fishes would once again swim toward him, only to be left high and dry (no pun intended) again.

Fishes beginning to congregate near the edge of the pond. It must be feeding time.

Our ponds are not big enough to commercially produce fish for the market. But it does help provide alternative and nutritious source of protein for the table. The rest are sold locally whenever possible.

Any caught koi is immediately pardoned and released. Although edible, their main function is to entertain. Good thing the other fish species don't know about this preferential treatment.

Our helpers netting some fish for lunch.

On our last day at the farm, my father asked if I would like to sample some tilapia. Being a fish-lover, I immediately said yes. Our helpers lured some inside an open-ended net half submerged in one of the ponds. The open side was then raised trapping the unsuspecting fish inside.

Picking Tilapias that are big enough to be harvested.

After choosing those that are big enough, the rest were released. Those that were chosen were grilled. Nothing beats a freshly caught fish for lunch.