About Our Tilapia
Premier has chosen Tilapia for its aquaculture program because they are hardy fish that like warm water, and have a rare combination of qualities that are found in few fish. Tilapia is endemic to warm waters and has been referred to as “The Wonder Fish” and “Nile Perch”. They are algae and plant eaters, not carnivores. Because they are low on the food chain, they cannot build up pollutants and other toxins in their bodies – unlike carnivorous predator fish species. These fish do not stress easily, and are not subject to the problems encountered in raising other fish varieties. Tilapia aquaculture can provide a reliable harvest that is inexpensive to grow.
Since Tilapia absorbs flavor from the water it is raised in, Premier has a distinct market advantage over its foreign counterparts due to its controlled environment. Wild Tilapia can have a muddy or inconsistent flavor while aquaculture Tilapia with reliable water sources, proper feeding and carefully monitored growth will taste mild and sweet. It is therefore, important to buy Tilapia from a company with a reliable water source. Tilapia fillets are white, firm, and moist. Premier’s water sources ensure a very mild, delicate taste; a taste and texture similar to sole.
Tilapia converts a greater proportion of their feed into growth over most other fish species. The acid content of their digestive tract is one of the strongest known and efficiently digest most microorganisms. Their strong immune system guards against the infections that often wipe out whole populations of the more delicate species used in aquaculture.
Premier will grow the genetic strain “Tilapia/Nile Nilotica”; generally considered the best for cultivation. Our fish are harvested after 6 months of growth at an average weight of 1-1/4 to 2 pounds. Premier Tilapia is fed an all-natural, nutritionally balanced diet of organic grain and protein. Continuous, year-round reproduction enables the fishery to produce young in any season, indoors or outdoors.
Organic Fish Farming
The demand for organic foods in the US and EU is soaring due to consumer concern about food safety and health. Official estimates of U.S. organic food sales through all channels (including exports) since 1990 indicate continued growth at a rate of 20-25% annually and reaching almost US$ 10 billion in 2003. The demand for Organic Fish is rapidly increasing, while the supply is very short.
Organic is defined as materials-based, process-oriented certification program that certifies livestock systems that are closed and managed. The Organic Sealï is awarded to agricultural and aquacultural products, which have been grown and processed according to USDA's National Organic Standards and certified by USDA-accredited state and private certification organizations.
In order to receive the organic certification for organic Tilapia, it is necessary to avoid use of hormones to convert all female Tilapia fry to male Tilapia fry. Hybrid Tilapia strains, which yield all-male fry population without hormonal treatment for sex reversal.
Hailed as “the fish of the new millennium" and “the new orange roughy”, Tilapia has rapidly gained consumer recognition in the united States. Consumption in America, reached an estimated wholesale value of $1.17 billion (650 million pounds of live weight) in 2005, which is a 226% increase over the last 5 years.
Tilapia traces its origin to the Nile River and has been farm raised for decades. Its culinary potential was appreciated by the ancient Egyptians and the epicurean Greeks. Aristotle is believed to have given the fish its name Tilapia niloticus (fish of the Nile) in 300 BC. The Tilapia fish is also said to have been the fish that Christ multiplied a thousand-fold to feed the masses. In modern time, Tilapia was chosen by NASA, as the optimum fish for aquaculture in space because this fish has features that seldom occur all within the same fish species. The actual Tilapia fish that traveled with Senator John Glenn in his second trip to space now resides (and is on display) in the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
A member of the Cichlid family, these fish look much like a snapper or perch and can live in either fresh or salt water. There are many varieties of Tilapia. However, the two best suited for aquaculture are the red and black Tilapia. Although both strains can be raised in either fresh or brackish water, black Tilapia usually are most suited to the fresh water than the red. The fillets are only slightly different in color. Fillets of both red and black Tilapia have a similar mild taste, when raised correctly.
Culinary Notes About Tilapia
Tilapia is used successfully in recipes calling for snapper, sole, cod, haddock, pompano, flounder, sea bass, or orange roughy. Easily poached, broiled, sautéed, grilled, baked, microwaved, steamed, fried, “blackened”, stir-fried, or as an ingredient in bouillabaisse and other fish soups, tilapia makes a very versatile menu item, because of its popularity as a tasty nutritious fish. Tilapia has become a recognizable menu item.
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