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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicken of the Pond






Another article was published in the aquaculture sector, this time at Aquaculture Hub. I was surprised by the positive spin given the New York Times report by this journalist. Tilapia is not only an invastive species in Nicaragua which has wrecked natural habitats for many native species; now we learn that tilapia grown by aquaculture is not that nutritious, according to the recent, cited report. Nonetheless, there are defenders, as the author of the article reproduced below. Environmental impacts caused by tilapia when introduced into new areas are clear, but some people don´t consider this a priority.  Read it all, think about it carefully, and make your own decisions.

Tilapia--the New Chicken

I love it when aquaculture gets some mainstream press and today, the New York Times featured an article by Elizabeth Rosenthall, describing tilapia as the perfect factory fish.  We like that here on the hub, although Iʻm not so sure sheʻs correct on her facts about fatty acids?  (Hey hub scientists...somebody please read her article at this link and doublecheck her fatty facts, ok?)
Oreochromis niloticus Nicaragua aquaculture

In short...the article says:
...Americans ate 475 million pounds of tilapia last year, four times the amount a decade ago, making this once obscure African native the most popular farmed fish in the United States. Although wild fish predominate in most species, a vast majority of the tilapia consumed in the United States is “harvested” from pens or cages in Latin America and Asia. Known in the food business as “aquatic chicken” because it breeds easily and tastes bland, tilapia is the perfect factory fish; it happily eats pellets made largely of corn and soy and gains weight rapidly, easily converting a diet that resembles cheap chicken feed into low-cost seafood.

I would love to see some fast-food restaurants adopt tilapia for sandwich offerings, over their current use of pollock and cod.  McTilapia anyone?  KFT = Kentucky Fried Tilapia?  Sounds yummy to me, so yʻall keep plugging away out there building up your fish stocks and reducing your fish feed dependence, so that we can give those farmed chickens a rest.

tilapia aquaculture invasive species Nicaragua
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