Tropical has added Piscícola El Rosario to their tilapia farm network. El Rosario is located in the Northwestern region of Colombia in one of the most ideal areas for tilapia production. The company began it's operations in 2009 as a result of a group of Colombian businessmen having an interest in investing in vulnerable regions of the country. Historically, the only jobs available in these regions were connected to illicit activities where the rate of violence marginalized the local population.
El Rosario's Mission is the well-being of their workers, the betterment of their quality of life and to treat them well to make them better Colombian citizens.
This project has created a very positive social impact and has contributed to the strengthening of the local economy with the development of suppliers of products and services. More than 130 positions were created between the farm and the plant operations.
El Rosario's modern processing plant is strategically located at the farming facilities which makes it possible to harvest the fish, process it and pack it all within 30 minutes. Additionally, they have a rendering plant where they process the by-products of the tilapia to create a product that has commercial value. Along with creating a reusable product, they are mitigating the possible environmental impact of tilapia production by considerably reducing waste and supplying tilapia meal and fish oil to the feed industry.
Piscicola El Rosario is a very important partner in our network of farms and processing plants in helping us grow and guarantee continuity of supply. Because our fish are grown in a variety of locations, we are better able to avoid unexpected obstacles or delays, such as local weather or transportation issues. This allows us the flexibility to substitute any days' harvest. Despite our complex structure, our proprietary and third party tracking systems enable us to trace each fish back to the source.
For over a decade, we have worked to provide responsibly farmed products. In order to do so, we continuously monitor our practices to identify and address factors that could impact the sustainability of our production systems.
One of the many areas we continuously monitor in our farming operations is our formulated feed. We verify that the nutrients and energy requirements for farmed Tilapia are met while minimizing our impact on the environment.
As mentioned in Issue 16 of our newsletter, by the second quarter of 2011 we were able to reduce our FIFO ratio from 0.16 to 0.13. At the end of 2011, we reached yet another goal by lowering the ratio to a net zero when we modified the source of fishmeal in our Tilapia feed. Now, we exclusively use fishmeal from by-products originated from sustainable fisheries such as the Ecuadorian Tuna Industry, which is highly regulated by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
With this achievement, we are able to produce a more sustainable product by eliminating the pressure on wild stocks caught for fishmeal. The result of a zero FIFO ratio is a net contribution to global fish supplies.
In 2012 we plan to make our tilapia feed even more eco-friendly by reducing the amount of protein in the feed and thus, reducing the nitrogen footprint of our farming systems. We will make these changes to the feed formula all while complying with the ingredient and processing guidelines for feed production.
As we continue to produce seafood with an outlook for the future, we always keep in mind the animal's nutritional needs and the nutritional characteristics of the final product. We are constantly working to ensure our Tilapia is a dependable healthy source of lean-protein farmed in an eco-friendly manner.