Exceptional aquaculture: Tilapia from Aquamar farm
Posted by by Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural and sustainable programs
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Our Exceptional Aquaculture program is alive and kicking! This is a part of our Responsibly Sourced Seafood program. Following our commitment to educate people on our program, we share stories about some of the farms we have had the opportunity to visit. We display 4 stories per year in our stores – this is our current story.
A couple of years ago, I traveled to Ecuador to see firsthand how our Tilapia are farmed.
On the Pacific coast near Guayaquil, Ecuador, is a Tilapia farm called Aquamar which is operated by Tropical Aquaculture Products, Inc.. This is where we source our fresh Tilapia. Enrico Delfini runs this farm and prides himself on their commitment to the environment. His farm is full of generations of sustainable practices that truly set his Tilapia apart from the rest.
His sustainable practices include:
Tilapia - Fresh from the Aquamar farm in Ecuador, these sustainable Tilapia are raised in low-density farms utilizing polyculture and recirculation. Polyculture provides a diverse aquatic environment for multiple species that complement each other. Recirculation helps save water and at Aquamar, all the water is filtered so it’s as clean coming in and it is going out. Aquamar was recently awarded the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) certificate for their responsibly farmed Tilapia, making them the first Tilapia farm in the Americas to receive ASC certification.
Amazing view of Aquamar sustainable Tilapia farm outside of Guayaquil Ecuador.
The Farm - Their farming model produces low density, free range conditions, ensuring the Tilapia are free of antibiotics, chemicals, and preservatives. These Tilapia are Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certified (a certification model that our Tilapia distributor, Tropical, strives for with all their farms.) The certification confirms their committed to conserve and replenish natural resources, including water, wetlands, wildlife and wild fisheries.
The Food - The Tilapia from Ecuador are fed natural plankton and zooplankton in addition to their specially formulated feed, making the fish-in to fish-out ratios the lowest in the world. These farms also provide natural probiotics to the ponds to keep the fish healthy. Probiotics are live cultures found in fermented foods that support healthy digestion and overall health.
The Water - These animals are raised in ponds that are naturally infused with saltwater with every new tide. Saltwater acts as a natural cleanser and gives the fish and shrimp a clean, mild flavor and firm texture. Traditional aquaculture production requires large quantities of water ― approximately one million gallons of water to fill a one acre pond. In contrast, a closed recirculating system utilizes less than 10 percent of the water required by ponds to produce comparable yields.
To find out more about our Responsibly Sourced Seafood, stop by any one of our seafood departments this month and talk to the seafood manager. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh Tilapia filets while you’re there. You’re going to love the flavor, and knowing the sustainable story makes it taste even better!