Thursday, September 29, 2005


Only the top ten percent of the U.S. market really care about "what they are putting into their mouths," and that trend shows regional differences. "It's a concern in the West, but not nearly as strong in the Southeast," he said.
The biggest future fish story? Tilapia. "There will be remarkable, explosive growth," Anderson predicts.

The reason I include this about tilapia is because we ordered tilapia from the menu at an Olive Garden last night. It was fresh, mild tasting, and firm. No off flavors at all. It took up the seasonings the cook used very well and amounted to a very pleasing seafood experience.

It got me thinking that there is an unlimited amount of land in the U.S. to dig ponds to raise tilapia, and a lot of food processing waste that could be used for food for these fish. Remember the Idaho potato growers feed tilapia the discarded potato skins. Tilapia put on an amazing 1.1 + pounds for every pound of food you give them. There may not be the pollution problem that raising salmonids causes.

Besides who could complain about groundwater problems when so many households in this country use leaching fields for their septic tanks. And of course the catfish farmers are going strong. I don't like to eat catfish. I think they are tough and greasy, sorry. But tilapia are like the brown bombers we used to catch trolling close in to shore when we were after coho in late summer. We'd cut off a fillet, fry it up and slap it on a slice of bread for a real gormet lunch.

I don't know why the Israelis didn't grow them on the Kibbutz I was on. They had state-of-the-art everything, just the wrong kind of fish. The Kibbutz was at the base of Mt. Gilboa, the mountain where King Saul died, and was over 400 feet below sea level. Good spring water, wherever it was coming from. They loved me, because I knew how to mend net. They would beach seine a pocket in one corner of a drained, three acre pond to get the fish. Then a tank truck on the levee would extend arm with a retractable dump bucket down to the seine so you could brail fish into it. A real slick operation.

The United Nations said once that tilapia was going to solve the hunger problems of the world. The trouble was, was that they figured on putting tilapia in cesspools to eat the algae, and tilapia have a tendency to take up flavors from what they eat. I think I'd rather starve too. That whole thing has gone by the wayside and U.S. tilapia growers are producing a tasty product and are expanding pretty fast.


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