Cage-based aquaculture in rivers raises issues of natural resource management more familiar to fisheries management than does aquaculture in fish ponds on private land. Hybrid red and black Nile tilapias (Oreochromis niloticus L)are reared for 4-5 months in cages in the upper Ping River in northern Thailand. Observed mean stocking density was 49±16 fish·m-3, feed conversion ratio 1.47 ± 0.43 kg feed per kg fish and yield density 26.6 ± 8.1 kg·m-3. Input costs were dominated by feed (70%) and stock (16%). Most farms borrowed money and participated in contracts. Fish farming was usually a component of a portfolio of household activities but for some a core business. To succeed fish farmers must manage a combination of market, climate and environmental-related risks. Cage-based aquaculture in rivers faces many challenges; further research on farm practices and vulnerabilities, river and water management, and the commodity-chain are needed.
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