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Fish meal


Fishmeal is a product made from dried and ground fish or fish trimmings. It is a high-protein feed ingredient commonly used in animal nutrition, especially for livestock, poultry, and aquaculture species. Fishmeal is produced by cooking, pressing, and drying fish to remove moisture and oil, resulting in a nutrient-dense powder with a high protein content.

Uses of Fishmeal in a Homestead:

  1. Livestock and Poultry Feed: Fishmeal can be used as a protein-rich supplement in the diets of various farm animals, such as chickens, pigs, and ruminants. It provides essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins necessary for their growth and overall health.
  2. Fish Farming: In aquaculture, fishmeal is a vital component of fish and shrimp feeds. Many fish species are carnivorous or omnivorous and require high levels of protein in their diet, making fishmeal an excellent source of nutrition for them.
  3. Compost and Soil Amendment: In a permaculture homestead, fishmeal can be utilized as an organic fertilizer and soil amendment. Its high nitrogen content enriches the soil, providing nutrients for plants and enhancing soil fertility.
  4. Compost Tea: Fishmeal can be used to make compost tea—a liquid fertilizer derived from compost. By adding fishmeal to the compost tea mixture, you can boost its nutrient content and enhance its effectiveness as a foliar spray or soil drench.
  5. Bokashi Composting: Fishmeal can be added to Bokashi composting systems, which are a type of anaerobic fermentation process. The fishmeal aids in breaking down organic matter and accelerates the composting process.
  6. Plant Fertilizer: Fishmeal can be directly applied as a fertilizer around plants, providing them with a nutrient-rich food source. However, it’s essential to use fishmeal sparingly and avoid overapplication to prevent nutrient imbalances.

It’s crucial to use fishmeal responsibly and in moderation. Overuse can lead to nutrient runoff and environmental issues if not managed properly. When sourcing fishmeal, ensure that it comes from sustainable and ethical sources, as overfishing or the use of fish species that are under threat can have negative consequences on marine ecosystems.

In permaculture practices, there is often an emphasis on recycling and utilizing resources efficiently. Fishmeal can be a valuable component in creating a closed-loop system where waste from one part of the homestead is used to enrich another, contributing to a more sustainable and self-sufficient approach to farming and gardening.

Making your own fish based fertiliser:

Making fish meal at home can be a bit challenging, as it requires specialized equipment and a controlled drying process. However, you can use fish scraps or fish waste as fertilizer in your garden or composting system. Here’s a simple guide on how to use fish as fertilizer:

Fish Scrap Fertilizer:

  1. Collect Fish Scraps: Save any fish scraps or fish waste from cooking, such as heads, bones, tails, and guts. Make sure the scraps are free from any oils, seasonings, or contaminants.
  2. Bury the Scraps: Dig a hole in your garden or compost pile and bury the fish scraps. It’s best to bury the scraps deep enough to avoid attracting pests or animals.
  3. Cover the Scraps: After burying the fish scraps, cover them with soil or compost to prevent any odors or unwanted attention from animals.
  4. Allow Decomposition: Over time, the fish scraps will decompose, releasing nutrients into the soil. This process may take several weeks to a few months, depending on the size of the scraps and environmental conditions.
  5. Use with Compost: You can also add fish scraps to your compost pile. Mix them with other compostable materials, such as vegetable scraps, yard waste, and carbon-rich materials like leaves or straw. Regularly turn the compost pile to help the materials decompose evenly.
  6. Compost Tea: To accelerate the breakdown of fish scraps, you can also make compost tea. Blend the fish scraps with water and strain the liquid to create a nutrient-rich compost tea. Use the compost tea as a liquid fertilizer by diluting it with water and applying it to your plants.

Important Notes:

  • Only use fish scraps from sources that you trust and are free from contaminants or pollutants. Avoid using fish scraps from areas with potential industrial or chemical pollution.
  • Keep in mind that fish scraps can attract unwanted pests and animals, so bury or cover them appropriately.
  • The decomposition of fish scraps can produce a strong odor, so consider placing the scraps away from living spaces.
  • It’s essential to use fish scraps in moderation. While they are a good source of nutrients, excessive use can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil.

Remember that using fish as fertilizer is just one aspect of a comprehensive gardening or farming approach. A well-balanced and diverse composting system, along with other organic matter sources, will provide a range of nutrients to support healthy plant growth.

Fish meal in Namibia

According to our knowledge the use of fish meal as fertilizer is prohibited by law in Namibia although it is a good source of Nitrogen and other minerals for your plants. It’s used in many developed nations.

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