Cobia is among the most delicious and healthy fish internationally. Cobia sells for excellent prices in international markets, and restaurants value every cut of this fish as well, but a fish that sells well is not always a fish that farms well. So is Cobia a good fish to farm?
Cobia is a very good fish to farm, but it can be a challenge. Cobia is expensive, large, and heavy, which means it can be very lucrative. However, this fish does best on offshore farms and requires a specific protein-rich diet and copious amounts of food to prevent them from eating each other.
Aquaculture is challenging with an easy fish, which makes farming difficult fish a significant problem to overcome. Does Cobia fall into the easy-to-farm category, or are these fish a challenge despite their high value? Let’s explore the world of Cobia farming to find out how good this is to farm.
Are Cobia Difficult To Farm?
Cobia is a popular fish internationally that is ideal for almost every type of fish dish. Cobia is excellent for sushi, grilling, fish soups, and stews, as the main ingredient of a meal, or as a delicious addition to a larger meal, which is why this fish is so highly sought after.
However, the fact that a fish is highly sought after does not mean that it is an easy fish to cultivate. Still, the lucrative nature of farming Cobia has piqued the interest of many aquaculturists and leaves many wondering if this fish is difficult to farm?
The truth is that Cobia is an excellent fish for aquaculture for many reasons, but this fish does come along with its own set of challenges as well.
Cobia is a difficult fish to farm as it requires a particular diet that is exceptionally high in protein. This causes the fish to grow very quickly, which means that Cobia are likely to eat one another if they are not fed enough, just to sustain themselves during the rapid growth they undergo.
The challenges of feeding a fish that grows this quickly are significant on their own, but the high-protein diet required by the Cobia make them particularly difficult to feed.
In addition to the challenges of feeding Cobia enough and the resulting rapid growth of this species create other issues related to this fish's space requirements.
Cobia grows very quickly, which requires a lot of space already, but they also spawn year-round when farmed, which means that their population increases rapidly as well.
All of this means that Cobia is best cultivated in offshore facilities after being spawned and partially grown inland. This type of operation yields the best Cobia harvest possible, provided the waters are above 20°C consistently.
These factors mean that farming Cobia requires significant infrastructure and very close management, but if you have the equipment, facilities, and understanding to farm them, then Cobia can be an excellent fish for aquaculture and can be a highly lucrative harvest year-round.
Is It Worthwhile Farming Cobia?
Cultivating Cobia can be expensive, and the infrastructure required to farm Cobia on a large enough scale to be profitable can be challenging to manage. This leads many to wonder if Cobia aquaculture is worthwhile?
Farming Cobia is worthwhile. Cobia is among the most highly prized fish, and they sell for a relatively higher price in most markets. One pound of Cobia can sell for as much as $24 commercially. This makes Cobia among the most expensive fish on international markets.
However, if you have the infrastructure to cultivate it, Cobia can be the most lucrative fish for any aquaculture farm due to its high growth and spawn rates.
The world's largest sustainable offshore fish farm cultivates Cobia exclusively and makes tens of millions of dollars every year from Cobia alone.
Suppose the infrastructure is suitable and efficient. In that case, the rate at which Cobia spawn and the fact that the largest Cobia specimens can weigh almost 150 pounds means that a well-managed Cobia farm can be highly successful and immensely lucrative.
However, small-scale operations may not benefit as much from farming Cobia because this species does best in farms with an offshore infrastructure. Smaller operations may benefit more from fish that require less specific diets, less food, and less space. This keeps husbandry costs down, increasing profit margins.
Is Cobia Farming Sustainable?
As we have already established, Cobia farming can be worthwhile despite its challenges, especially for more extensive fish farming operations. Still, an important question surrounding the farming of any fish species is whether or not cultivating it is sustainable?
Cobia farming is sustainable. This fish is of least concern regarding environmental endangerment status. If it is cultivated well, Cobia can be farmed in a sustainable way that has almost no impact on surrounding marine life or habitat, even when it is farmed offshore.
There are sustainable Cobia farms in many countries internationally, the largest in Panama. Still, much of the world's sustainably cultivated Cobia comes from sustainable farms in China, the USA, and Taiwan.
It is in the best interests of aquaculturists to farm Cobia sustainably, as this fish can be very lucrative. However, there is no point in farming this fish without a sustainable growth and cultivation plan.
Cobia is kept sustainable because it is a cultivated fish, a harvested fish, not a caught fish. This means that all Cobia that is sold and bought commercially has been farmed, not caught wild in the ocean.
Individual fishers will catch Cobia for personal consumption, but outside of husbandry, Cobia is generally solitary fish, which means that most Cobia that are wild-caught are only caught one at a time.
The fishing equipment used to catch Cobia does not come into contact with the ocean floor, which means it does not harm habitats at all either.
Commercial fishing operations do not target Cobia, which means that there is almost no bycatch associated with Cobia cultivation. The fact that most Cobia is cultivated offshore means that Cobia husbandry often ends up increasing wild Cobia populations rather than decreasing it, without causing any harm to the existing ecosystem.
This means that Cobia is generally sustainably farmed and can be harvested and sold without any significant adverse environmental impact.
Check out this informational video on one of the biggest offshore farms in coastal waters of Panama that is growing millions of dollars worth of Cobia Fish.
At the end of it all, Cobia is considered an excellent fish for farming, but it does require significant infrastructure to do so well. Cobia can be a challenge to farm, but the rewards are great if this fish is farmed well.
Cobia can earn substantial profits if farmed well, so if you are considering farming this fish, be sure to set up your equipment and facilities well in advance, and your Cobia will pay off well in time!
Aquaculture of cobia - Wikipedia
How to farm cobia | The Fish Site