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FUTURE TRENDS OF TILAPIA AQUACULTURE IN THE AMERICAS - page 8 / 13

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at most farms. Commercial production for export began in 1989 in the Sula Valley (Teichert- Coddington and Green 1997). The original farm, and several which followed in the early 1990s, were based on Jamaican production systems utilizing in- tensive pond culture with paddlewheel aeration and daily water exchange. The farms also used red hy- brid broodstocks imported from Jamaica. By 1997, exports to the US from these farms were 212 t (mostly fresh fillets), worth $884,458.

In 1997, Aqua Corporacion de Honduras near San Pedro Sula began production. This farm uses tech- nology developed by Aquaculture Production Tech- nology of Israel including an intensive pond system rearing all male hybrid populations. The farm cur- rently produces 1,800 t/y. Hatchery, growout and pro- cessing are vertically integrated. Fish are exported as fresh product and marketed under the “Mountain Stream” brand. New production has increased exports to the US to 506 t (mostly fresh fillets), worth $2,893,827 in 1998 (National Marine Fisheries Ser- vice 1999). Regal Springs began operation of 2 large cage farms in reservoirs in 1999. When fully opera- tional, these 2 farms will produce 4,000 t/y (M. Picchietti, pers. comm.; Redmayne 2000).

Honduras

Red Strains, O. niloticus

# of Farms

50+

Production (t)

3,000

Consumption (t)

N/A

New investment

Some

Hurricane Mitch in 1998 devastated much of the country. Several farms lost fish stocks but little per- manent damage was done. By 2000 production is expected to surpass pre-hurricane levels (estimated at 5 t/wk) and continue expanding. Some farms will increase production by adding paddlewheels and switch from red tilapia to O. niloticus. There are plans for at least one significant cage farm opera- tion. Honduras will join Costa Rica as the 2 major exporters from Central America.

Jamaica

  • O.

    mossambicus were introduced into Jamaica in

    • 1949.

      In 1979, Auburn University, working with the

Jamaican government, began working on a multi-year project to develop tilapia aquaculture across the coun- try. Hatcheries and demonstration farms were con- structed and biologists were trained. Many small farms were started and domestic consumption increased.

Fitzsimmons

Eventually, large commercial producers entered the industry and developed export quality products. “Aquaculture Jamaica Limited” is the largest producer with 2 major farm sites, a hatchery, a processing plant. The company exports to the US and UK. Several pro- ducers across the country act as contract growers for Aquaculture Jamaica, primarily growing red strains and O. niloticus (see Hanley, This vol.).

Jamaica

Red Strains, O. niloticus

# of Farms

55

Production (t)

4,200

Consumption (t)

2,900

New investment

Some

There is little investment in new farms, but ex- isting operations are improving yields and increas- ing intensity.

Mexico

Mexico produces more tilapia than any other country in the Americas, 94,279 t in 1996. Tilapia are cultured using extensive and intensive methods and are captured from reservoirs stocked with fin- gerlings. There are highly developed internal mar- kets and few fish are exported. Culture methods have become more intensive in recent years, with im- proved feeds, more cage and raceway culture, ge- netic manipulations, and more skilled producers. The government of Mexico has begun a project to de- velop 3 tilapia “parks”. These parks will be research, education, and demonstration sites as well as major production locations. As additional technology is applied, Mexico’s tilapia production will expand rapidly. Mexico, with its large domestic demand, proximity to US markets, and enormous water re- sources for tilapia culture, will soon be a major fac- tor in the international trade in tilapia (see Fitzsimmons, This vol.).

Mexico # of Farms

O. aureus, O. niloticus, Red Strains > 1,000

Production (t) Consumption (t) New investment

94,279 94,000 Yes, cages, ponds, tilapia parks

Mexico will continue to be the largest producer and consumer of tilapia in the Americas. Greater in- tensification and replacement of stocking and capture with cage culture, will greatly increase production. Mexico will develop an export trade to the US.

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