Beware of Fish Rustlers

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that people steal food, not when a fast food meal costs as much as a steak, and grocery prices continue to climb at the same time that income has been severely slashed. But recently a high school aquaponics project lost 1000 fish overnight to thieves. The perps obviously weren’t starving, because that’s way too much meat to haul away without a vehicle and the right kind of containers. Still the suspects in this event are homeless people. More like someone who wanted to cash in on the tilapia market without doing any work.

While you might think your backyard aquaponics project is too small to attract the attention of thieves, you might want to mull over the plight of your neighbors as they try to make ends meet and have enough money left over to eat with. This is not to say that everyone living around you is a thief, but in hard times humans have long been known to steal food to cure starvation. Your fresh fish and veg will be much more attractive than dumpster diving. And if you’ve got a sizable operation underway, like the students at Waipahu High School in Hawaii, it could attract the money-hungry dishonest element in your area.

Fencing the project sounds like it gives you protection, but in this case the thieves cut a hole in the chain link fence to rob them. I suggest hot-wiring the fence top to bottom with a powerful electric fencer. If anyone tries to cut through the jolt will knock them on their keister. (Yes, I am a witness to this effect, and I didn’t touch the fence, my hair did thanks to the wind.) Sound a bit extreme? Consider that without these 1000 fishes, the school’s garden is history. They do not have the funds to replace what was taken, and without the fish waste their vegetables have no nutrients. Additionally, these kids cannot learn how to grow food without soil, so the perps have also removed an important part of their education, and possibly a lot of food that was served in the school cafeteria.

Don’t assume that if the fish weren’t outdoors they would be safer. Locks only keep honest people out. A thief who wants what you have bad enough will find a way around the locked door or 8-foot tall fence. This is why homes and businesses in areas with high crime rates have bars on the windows and doors. Something anyone growing a good deal of food in an urban environment really must take into account, especially if your purpose is to sell it. Because, as we see with the wealth possible if you’re a player in Big Food, edibles have great value wherever there are people.

Secure your fish and veg appropriately. The harder it gets to make money, and the higher prices of everything goes, the more common grower losses of fresh food to thieves will become.

News Source: KHON

Image courtesy of Trinnaj Photos


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Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine

Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.