Aquaponic Gardening

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where do you find your fish?  thoughts on who has been great and who should be avoided?  thoughts on cross-state-bourder shipping

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jeff, please let the group know if you contact these two aqua farms and they agree to sell small batches of fingerlings.that would be great news for California aquapons. I'm going to start a forum thread where we can start listing hatcheries that are open to selling to aquaponicists.

Jeff Givan said:
Here in California the Fish and Game allow very specific types of Tilapia. I would have to look them up, but they are the ones that cannot handle the cold temperatures and would perish if they escaped out in the wild. Although we have the Salton Sea out here that is full of I think (not sure) the Nile Tilapia. I sure wouldn't want to eat any of them since the pollution is really high in the Salton Sea. You sure don't want to mess with the Fish and Game people, the fines can be extremely high. You really have to be careful bringing fish in from other states! There are some large Aquaculture farms here raising both Catfish and Tilapia, if anyone is interested I can get you some links for them. One is just North of us and they pump warm water right out of the aquifer for the Tilapia.
I have tried to get these couple of aquafarms to sell to me and they won't even return my emails. I do have some other sources for fish that I will get together and post once I get it all organized.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
jeff, please let the group know if you contact these two aqua farms and they agree to sell small batches of fingerlings.that would be great news for California aquapons. I'm going to start a forum thread where we can start listing hatcheries that are open to selling to aquaponicists.

Jeff Givan said:
Here in California the Fish and Game allow very specific types of Tilapia. I would have to look them up, but they are the ones that cannot handle the cold temperatures and would perish if they escaped out in the wild. Although we have the Salton Sea out here that is full of I think (not sure) the Nile Tilapia. I sure wouldn't want to eat any of them since the pollution is really high in the Salton Sea. You sure don't want to mess with the Fish and Game people, the fines can be extremely high. You really have to be careful bringing fish in from other states! There are some large Aquaculture farms here raising both Catfish and Tilapia, if anyone is interested I can get you some links for them. One is just North of us and they pump warm water right out of the aquifer for the Tilapia.
in my experience, most fingerling/fry producers have serious customer service issues- i've worked with a couple florida tilapia producers successfully, but even then cust. service is terrible. good luck in CA- they've been confiscating every shipment of tilapia crossing thier border lately and threatening aquapon. folks with fines. the ability to get tilapia is virtually nil in CA right now unless you're a research institution. plus- the genetics of the "pureline" til. in the US is not pure at all and the burden of proof as far as far as enviro. incompatibility (i.e. the fish spp. inability to survive if escaped) rests on the producer in most states, which means that as a small time aquapon. prod. you are hosed. even here in WY, where the water temp.s statewide spend months out of the year down in the 30s, i had to jump through hoops to get fish! it's just and education issue in a lot of places. . . but most G&F folks don't get paid enough to care. to be fair, there are also disease concerns- several really dangerous viruses and diseases have been spread via hatchery fish.

my 2 cents,

nate
It is very difficult to find the Tilapia here in CA. And, Nate you are so right about the Fish and Game people not caring! But, boy they will sure care when they are writing you a multi thousand dollar fine for violations. Like you, I am leaning towards catfish right now unless I can find a supplier for the Tilapia. Only problem is that Tilapia are viewed as a better eating fish by most Californians over Catfish. Now I love Catfish, but that is because I grew up eating them in Texas. We are only caring about what consumers want because we are considering doing it commercially. In fact we just met with a Certified Farmers Market group this morning that are begging for fresh Tilapia.

Nate Storey said:
in my experience, most fingerling/fry producers have serious customer service issues- i've worked with a couple florida tilapia producers successfully, but even then cust. service is terrible. good luck in CA- they've been confiscating every shipment of tilapia crossing thier border lately and threatening aquapon. folks with fines. the ability to get tilapia is virtually nil in CA right now unless you're a research institution. plus- the genetics of the "pureline" til. in the US is not pure at all and the burden of proof as far as far as enviro. incompatibility (i.e. the fish spp. inability to survive if escaped) rests on the producer in most states, which means that as a small time aquapon. prod. you are hosed. even here in WY, where the water temp.s statewide spend months out of the year down in the 30s, i had to jump through hoops to get fish! it's just and education issue in a lot of places. . . but most G&F folks don't get paid enough to care. to be fair, there are also disease concerns- several really dangerous viruses and diseases have been spread via hatchery fish.

my 2 cents,

nate
if you have a farmer's market coop that's interested, it's worth jumping through some hoops! one problem you'll have is that G&F (assuming they give you the OK) will DEFINITELY not allow you to do live sales or even live tranport to market- which is really a valuable way to market tilapia (you don't waste meat, people can verify freshness, many cultures prefer fish live or recently alive, etc.). so then you have to do fresh fillets or frozen which means more investment from you, more waste, etc. i tend to like tilapia more than catfish myself (if they've been properly prepared for market).

i feel for you buddy, you've got a lot of paperwork ahead of you, but it really can be worth it. people really do care about where thier meat comes from- esp. with the amt. of terrible asia- produced tilapia lately.

Jeff Givan said:
It is very difficult to find the Tilapia here in CA. And, Nate you are so right about the Fish and Game people not caring! But, boy they will sure care when they are writing you a multi thousand dollar fine for violations. Like you, I am leaning towards catfish right now unless I can find a supplier for the Tilapia. Only problem is that Tilapia are viewed as a better eating fish by most Californians over Catfish. Now I love Catfish, but that is because I grew up eating them in Texas. We are only caring about what consumers want because we are considering doing it commercially. In fact we just met with a Certified Farmers Market group this morning that are begging for fresh Tilapia.

Nate Storey said:
Boy we know about paperwork! We are currently making our living (or lack there of) in Real Estate! Don't know whats more difficult to live with the Fish and Game folks or the Bankers and Department of Real Estate! From what I have read it doesn't seem too difficult, but I am sure they will make it worse as we get closer to doing it. As I said is some earlier posts there are aquaculture farms out here that live transport to the Asian markets in Los Angeles. Will be interesting to see how it goes. Actually from what I have read so far there would be more regulations if I was trying to clean it and freeze it than ship it alive! But, I do want to qualify these statements by saying that I am just beginning to look into it all. Will be interesting to say the least.

Nate Storey said:
if you have a farmer's market coop that's interested, it's worth jumping through some hoops! one problem you'll have is that G&F (assuming they give you the OK) will DEFINITELY not allow you to do live sales or even live tranport to market- which is really a valuable way to market tilapia (you don't waste meat, people can verify freshness, many cultures prefer fish live or recently alive, etc.). so then you have to do fresh fillets or frozen which means more investment from you, more waste, etc. i tend to like tilapia more than catfish myself (if they've been properly prepared for market).

i feel for you buddy, you've got a lot of paperwork ahead of you, but it really can be worth it. people really do care about where thier meat comes from- esp. with the amt. of terrible asia- produced tilapia lately.

Jeff Givan said:
It is very difficult to find the Tilapia here in CA. And, Nate you are so right about the Fish and Game people not caring! But, boy they will sure care when they are writing you a multi thousand dollar fine for violations. Like you, I am leaning towards catfish right now unless I can find a supplier for the Tilapia. Only problem is that Tilapia are viewed as a better eating fish by most Californians over Catfish. Now I love Catfish, but that is because I grew up eating them in Texas. We are only caring about what consumers want because we are considering doing it commercially. In fact we just met with a Certified Farmers Market group this morning that are begging for fresh Tilapia.

Nate Storey said:
I just checked with the California Fish and Game website. In California they allow Tilapia Hornorum, Tilapia Mossambica and Tilapia Zillii. Here are a couple of links that explain about the different species. http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/tilapia/breeding.php and this one is also a large producer here in So Cal http://socalfishfarm.com/fish/

Sylvia responded to one of my earlier posts about some of the large fish farms out here. Here are the links to their webpages as well.
http://www.bluebeyondfisheries.com/
http://www.imperialcatfish.com/
http://www.fbifarms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...
This last one is also interesting in the fact that they raise Jatropa plants which are somewhat aquaponically raised. These plants make a high grade of bio diesel. In fact they claim to get 830+ gallons of biofuel per acre of land.

This last link will send you Tilapia as long as you can prove your State will allow them.
http://jimsfish.webs.com/bluetilapia.htm
Wow. $4 a pop? if you're paying more than 50 cents a fish forget about it.


This last link will send you Tilapia as long as you can prove your State will allow them.
http://jimsfish.webs.com/bluetilapia.htm
unless it's brood stock. . .
I'm going to try and collect a list of places that will sell in small quantities by state for the group. Just need to figure out how to do that through the Ning framework. Any ideas are welcome!

Jeff Givan said:
I just checked with the California Fish and Game website. In California they allow Tilapia Hornorum, Tilapia Mossambica and Tilapia Zillii. Here are a couple of links that explain about the different species. http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/tilapia/breeding.php and this one is also a large producer here in So Cal http://socalfishfarm.com/fish/

Sylvia responded to one of my earlier posts about some of the large fish farms out here. Here are the links to their webpages as well.
http://www.bluebeyondfisheries.com/
http://www.imperialcatfish.com/
http://www.fbifarms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...
This last one is also interesting in the fact that they raise Jatropa plants which are somewhat aquaponically raised. These plants make a high grade of bio diesel. In fact they claim to get 830+ gallons of biofuel per acre of land.

This last link will send you Tilapia as long as you can prove your State will allow them.
http://jimsfish.webs.com/bluetilapia.htm
I must say, we really like the Aquaponic Catfish. Just net one, quick kill and clean/fillet and prepare that evening.
No special purging or anything needed. And quite frankly, the few times I have noticed the "dense" texture in the catfish, I think we overcooked it.
We just had some catfish tonight, was great, moist and tender. Breaded and baked on top of a bed of pineapple with a hot pepper and tangerine marmalade glaze. Luscious as my mom would say.

But there are people out there who think catfish taste muddy, I've never experienced that.


Oh, and a note about fish farms. Use the phone, I've never gotten an e-mail back from a fish farm, I doubt they even check their web sites. Use the phone and if you don't reach anyone and leave a message, don't wait too long for them to call back, call again. Try different times of day to see when some one might be in the office. They are usually not highly staffed operations so when they are down at the ponds harvesting fish, there may be no one in the office to answer the phones.
I step to the front of the line in "enjoying the flavor of catfish, cooked the proper way!" Being a true Southerner! But, many just cannot get past the name catfish. They do not realize that a Blue Channel Cat lives in fast moving rivers and feeds mainly off of shad and other small baitfish. No bottom feeders in that group. And, you can taste the difference from a muddy pond cat and a river Channel cat.

TCLynx said:
I must say, we really like the Aquaponic Catfish. Just net one, quick kill and clean/fillet and prepare that evening.
No special purging or anything needed. And quite frankly, the few times I have noticed the "dense" texture in the catfish, I think we overcooked it.
We just had some catfish tonight, was great, moist and tender. Breaded and baked on top of a bed of pineapple with a hot pepper and tangerine marmalade glaze. Luscious as my mom would say.

But there are people out there who think catfish taste muddy, I've never experienced that.


Oh, and a note about fish farms. Use the phone, I've never gotten an e-mail back from a fish farm, I doubt they even check their web sites. Use the phone and if you don't reach anyone and leave a message, don't wait too long for them to call back, call again. Try different times of day to see when some one might be in the office. They are usually not highly staffed operations so when they are down at the ponds harvesting fish, there may be no one in the office to answer the phones.

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