I have been delayed in getting started here because the Easter period in Mexico is our most intensive Tilapia sales period from February 15 - April 8th. I have had and have nevertheless, every intention of developing this current "note" much further ASAP. Meantime, I would file this one under Feed Alternatives for aquaculture but also very strongly under Food Independence/Security for our fellow humans as well.
I would like to very briefly introduce (perhaps to many) an incredible plant native to our Yucatán peninsula, and farther south into Central and South America, called "Chaya". Locally, it is also called Mountain, or sometimes, "Mayan Tree Spinach". It is highly nutritious, tastes great (if you like spinach!) grows like a weed, is droudt resistant, tolerates high temps, and is not very vulnerable at all to pests and plagues which is saying a great deal considering the aggressive/challenging natural environment which exists here in the far south of Mexico.
For an excellent intro on this plant, I would recommend Googling "Wikipedia Chaya" and/or "Yucatán Mountain Tree Spinach". I am sure for the uninitiated, you will be suitably impressed and inspired. I am not sure as yet what the geographic distribution of Chaya is outside of Latina America but I know they are now growing it commercially in Texas, USA and may well be growing it as well in many other tropical and subtropical areas around our planet. With just a basic intro, I think you will agree that this is a valuable resource not only for aquaculturists but also for our other fellow humans.
Here is the URL from a company in Texas that is now commercializing Chaya stateside:
In terms of alternative fish feed, our local university has published (in English) a recent study which found that Chaya can be used effectively as up to a 50% replacement for commercial, fish-meal-based fish feed without altering the extent or speed of growth of fish (Tilapia) in commercial grow-out operations.
Let me say up front that I have no illusions that Chaya will ever make much of an impact in the area of vertically integrated, mega-multinational, commercial feed production. Nor do I see that especially as a desired goal. What I do see however is that this may be a way to help grass-roots, aquaculture and other agricultural producers escape being enslaved (literally) by the costs and profits of those same multi-nationals that increasingly preclude millions annualy from participating, even on a subsistence or hobby level, in this growing and and increasingly important industry.
I am sure the Mayan people of the Yucatán, et al, have been staying healthy on this quite amazing plant for several thousands of years...at least. I am very excited to share this brief introduction with fellow members and hope you will find it of interest both in terms of fish feed empowerment but also in terms of concomitant possibilities for our fellow humans, and aquapons(?) as well.
We welcome all comments always and especially those with any experience with this plant and especially those who may have had some exposure farther a field beyond Latin America. I am sure this plant would thrive in the southern US, Hawaii, much of Africa, and certainly Asia, so let´s put our heads together and see what we can do here to spread the wealth and gift that our Mayan predisessors left us and still today enjoy, shall we?
Ing. Gil Romero