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Fish-Farmed Tilapias To Hit Market In 2019

SOME 3,000 Andros-grown, fish-farmed tilapia will hit the Bahamian retail market in early 2019 to help meet demand following the Nassau Grouper season's closure.

Alaasis Braynen, the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute's (BAMSI) chief executive, announced the initiative that marks the beginning of the Institute's planned venture into aquaculture.

Michael Pintard, minister of agriculture and marine resources, said his primary interest lies in the institute's ability to use the tilapia as a research initiative that would provide scientific data for Bahamians who may be interested in commercial aquaculture.

He encouraged BAMSI to aggressively explore opportunities for public-private partnerships (PPPs) so the project could benefit from private funding and expertise, aiding its growth and profitability.

The all-male Nile tilapia were introduced to BAMSI's aquaponics facility in North Andros earlier this month, and are expected to be ready for harvest in six months. Their release is part of the Government's commitment to support sustainable fisheries, and invest in initiatives needed to push the nation toward a food-secure future.

Mr Braynen said the first consumers of the tilapia will be BAMSI's own students. "BAMSI has the mandate ''we eat what we grow', then commercially, it's part of the strategy to reduce BAMSI's financial dependence on the Government. It's really going to increase our revenue thereby, reducing the Government's subvention," he added.

The growing interest in tilapia by restaurants, wholesale fisheries and retail agencies comes at a time when the Nassau Grouper, which is a popular fish among Bahamians and tourists, has been listed as endangered due to over-fishing, poaching and unregulated fishing methods.

A fixed season, with government-backed oversight, now limits the amount of grouper available to the market, opening the way for new fish varieties to satisfy Bahamian consumers.

With BAMSI entering the fish farm arena, it means that a viable source of protein will be available year-round. Going forward, BAMSI plans on bringing in the tilapia fingerlings every six weeks to replenish its stock.

Vallierre Deleveaux, head of BAMSI's marine division, personally travelled to Florida to select the species, and engineered the method of successful transport to the Andros research/tutorial farm.

Comments

Porcupine 2 years ago

A natural corollary to this will be to follow suit with raising conch, crawfish and other finfish. Not just for market, but to reseed and repopulate dwindling marine resources for the future. Having that knowledge and expertise now will prove invaluable to the future. I hope BAMSI works, after the terrible start it has had.

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SP 2 years ago

There is absolutely no possibility that the small population of the Bahamas can cause the smallest dent in the fishing resources of the Bahamas.

The Nassau Grouper has been listed as endangered due to over-fishing, poaching and unregulated fishing methods by the Dominicans who catch them at any size 24/7/365!

A fixed season, with government-backed oversight, works for Bahamian fisherman, limiting the amount of grouper available to the local market, however, the Dominicans have absolutely no regard for our "fixed grouper and crawfish seasons".

To nobody's surprise, successive incompetent, corrupt, governments have been complicit and even rumored as being accommodating to Dominican poachers.

What are plans being implemented to counter Dominican poaching which threatens to totally destroy our fishing resources?

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Porcupine 2 years ago

SP,

Agreed on the need to eliminate poaching. But, to say, "There is absolutely no possibility that the small population of the Bahamas can cause the smallest dent in the fishing resources of the Bahamas.", shows a clear lack of understanding about the science of marine fisheries. Also, of the many places I've visited and lived in my life, you would be hard pressed to convince me that Bahamian fishermen, or Bahamians in general, have even the basic understanding of conservation the the state of our global marine resources. I have been told flat out by many people here that when we deplete one resource here, god will provide another. Enforcing poaching laws will help the resource, but will not eliminate the wholesale ignorance regarding our own part in killing the planet. Reading would help. Does everyone do their reading online now, for I see precious few Bahamian homes with any books, save one? Where does the information come from that motivates an ignorant statement you made above?

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