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We'd like to congratulate our partner in Brazil, Netuno for attaining Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for its tilapia farming operation early this month.

Attaining the ASC certification is not only a great achievement for Netuno, but it is proof of our partner's commitment to responsibly produce tilapia while measuring up to strict food safety and environmental standards.

The ASC label verifies that tilapia production occurs responsibly and in a way that benefits producers and consumers. ASC certified farms limit their impact on the environment from the effects of water pollution, escapes of farmed fish, the use of chemicals, antibiotics and nitrogen footprint. They also adhere to strict guidelines that promote the social conditions of workers and their surrounding communities.

Netuno began operating as a fishmonger in Recife, Brazil in 1989. Twenty-seven years later, Netuno has evolved into a 100 % Brazilian company specializing in seafood production and trade. Its tilapia production is completely integrated with optimal practices throughout the entire process, from hatchery to processing.

Netuno utilizes a cage system of 46 tilapia cages spread between two farm locations, Jatobá and Petrolândia, situated in the Paulo Alfonso dam in the São Francisco River. The dam has a water renovation rate of 1,200 cubic meters per second, which is ideal for maintaining a clean water body and is a key component in the healthy cultivation of fish in the absence of antibiotics.

At the farms, specific measures are taken to ensure that our tilapia are carefully nourished. The fish are fed a formulated feed with excellent nutritional value necessary to raise a strong and healthy fish.

Upon harvest, the fish is transported live to the processing plant where it takes less than 6 hours for the product to be ready to ship. The cold chain is maintained from the moment the fish leaves Netuno's processing facility, to the moment it arrives in the city of Sao Paulo, where it is then flown in refrigerated cargo to its destination in the United States.

All products are free of any and all chemicals, preservatives and gasses that may alter, extend or prolong natural color or shelf life.

In addition to the ASC label for its tilapia farms, Netuno is enrolled in the Global Aquaculture Alliance - iBAP program for its processing plant in Paulo Afonso, Bahia, Brazil.

Both Netuno and Tropical are committed to supplying seafood that is of superior quality and exceeds Brazilian food safety requirements in order to comply with international standards. By complying with the ASC standard at the farm and implementing the BAP standard at the plant, Netuno ensures responsible and sustainable management of the tilapia farm and processing facility.

According to Andre Brugger, Sustainability, Traceability and Certification Program Coordinator at Netuno, what sets Netuno apart is the "passion in all we do" and their ability to deliver "excellent quality to a global network for over 20 years while being committed to social and environmental responsible practices".

For Netuno, partnering with Tropical is important as "Netuno sees tremendous value in the sales capability, experience and knowledge Tropical has in this unique market." Partnering with Tropical in the fresh business "gives us the ability to focus 100% of our energy on producing a top quality tilapia in the most responsible and efficient way", said Andre.

At Tropical the geographic diversity of our partner farms, enable us to avoid unexpected obstacles or delays due to natural causes or transportation issues. Having a diverse tilapia network allows us the flexibility to substitute any day's harvest. This complex structure enables Tropical to maintain continuity of supply while providing the freshest fish possible every day of the week. Our tracking system provides us detailed traceability from the hatchery forward.

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We'd like to congratulate our partner farm in Mexico, Acuícola Gemso for attaining Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification at its processing plant this month and becoming the first Mexican tilapia operation to attain 2-star BAP certification.

Attaining the Global Aquaculture Alliances (GAA) renowned certification is not only a great achievement for Gemso, but it is proof of our partner's commitment to responsibly produce tilapia while measuring up to strict food safety and environmental standards.

In 2014, Acuícola Gemso was incorporated into Tropical's tilapia cooperative as part of our strategy for sustainable growth. Gemso received BAP certification at the farm level in December 2014.

Gemso utilizes a cage system in the Plutarco Elias Calles "El Novillo" Reservoir, East of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. El Novillo Reservoir is an ideal location due to its low aquaculture activity, which is a key component to the healthy cultivation of fish in the absence of antibiotics.

As part of the BAP program, the farm constantly monitors water quality and takes corrective actions if any quality checkpoints are affected.  Additionally, all aquaculture activity in the reservoir is managed and restricted by Mexican authorities.

Gemso's new state-of-the-art processing facility is located a short distance from the farm, guaranteeing speedy processing and optimal freshness. The plant is equipped to process deep-skinned, fully trimmed premium quality tilapia fillets as well as whole fish.

All products are free of any and all preservatives and gasses that may alter, extend or prolong natural color or shelf life.

One of the largest advantages of Gemso's processing facility is its proximity to the U.S. market. Situated 16 hours to Los Angeles by truck, Gemso can provide the freshest 2-star BAP Certified product to the West Coast.

Both Gemso and Tropical are committed to supplying a fish that is of superior quality and complies with and exceeds established social and environmental parameters. By implementing the BAP certification requirements, Acuícola Gemso ensures sustainable management of the tilapia farm and processing plant.

Including Gemso in our cooperative of farmers and processors, enables us to be geographically diverse and maintain continuity of supply, despite unexpected obstacles or delays, such as weather or transportation issues. Even with our complex structure, our tracking systems enable us to track every fish all the way back to the source.

2-star BAP Certified Tilapia from Gemso is available to the West Coast market in the following specifications:

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