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The harvesting size for carp varies considerable, depending on consumer preference, climatic conditions and culture techniques. In the majority of countries where carp culture is practised, consumer preference is for a fish of at least 0.5 and preferably 1–1.5kg weight, except in some Southeast Asian countries where smaller-sized fish are acceptable. In India, in the new improved systems of polyculture, the required marketable size is reached in one year. In Israel, the marketable size of 0.5–0.6kg is achieved in about four to six months. In Europe, it usually takes two to three years to grow them to the preferred weight of 1–1.5kg.
The most common means of harvesting carp is by seining, as described. The problems of seining common carp and silver carp have also been mentioned. In ponds with proper harvesting sumps, it is always preferable to harvest by draining, especially when the fish are to be sold in live condition. In most areas, the catches are sorted out before marketing. As described, wherever possible, carp are sold in live condition or fresh on ice. In many countries, live fish transport trucks or boats are used for long- and short-distance transport of carp.
Even though comparable recent data on commercial culture are not readily available, the economic viability of carp culture has never been in doubt in areas where there is a market for carp and appropriate technologies are used. The very fact that the food requirements for carp can be reached fully or partly by pond fertilization, and that inexpensive feedstuffs can be used as supplemental feeds, helps to bring down considerably one of the major costs of production. The cost of producing fry or finger-lings, another major production cost, can be kept at a desired level by the adoption of less expensive techniques. The established systems of polyculture also contributes to the profitability of carp culture. Though capital investments for farm construction and equipment can be high, with proper maintenance ponds can be used almost indefinitely. So it would appear that consumer acceptance and price levels in the market place are two of the major factors that determine economic viability in many situations.
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