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Fish Farmer Trains Successful Crop

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SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. — For years, we have farmed the ocean to get fish and other seafood. Farmers are now finding fish in other places.

At a Sampson County fish farm, thousands of baby large-mouth bass are in training.In order to survive and make the stock farm successful, the fish have to learn how to eat floating food pellets.

It takes about three weeks to train the fish.

"It normally feeds on living food, moving food so it takes them a while to catch on," said Dr. Bill Lewis, a fish researcher and farm owner.

After the fish are trained to eat, they are put in outdoor holding tanks. When the fish grow to 6 to 8 inches long, they will be released into a bigger pond. Lewis also raises blue gill, red ear, and catfish to sell to others to stock private ponds and for sport fishing.

Farm manager Charles Craft said the average customer has a pond that is 2 to 5 acres.

"A lot of times a person will have a pond on a piece of property and they have no idea what's in it. If they stock the pond then they know what they've got," Craft said.

Fish farming grows about 10 percent a year in North Carolina, where it is already a $25 million-a-year business.


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