Rainforest Tilapia's fish are on sale in Whole Foods Market stores throughout the US. Photo: Rainforest Tilapia.

US sales expansion for Costa Rica tilapia producer

Eco-friendly Costa Rica fish farmer Rainforest Tilapia is expanding its presence in the north American market by supplying Whole Foods Market stores across the US.

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The company, owned by salmon farmer AquaChile, uses water from Lake Arenal, a volcanic reservoir fed by natural water tributaries along Costa Rica’s tropical Atlantic Coast that is “borrowed” from hydropower generation and delivered to rice and sugar fields after passing through the fish ponds.

Rainforest Tilapia exchanges 1.6 million gallons of water per day, 20% of the water in its ponds.

Rainforest Tilapia's ponds are fed by water from a volcanic reservoir which is then used in rice and sugar production. Photo: Rainforest Tilapia.

Low density

Its Oreochromis Niloticus tilapia are fed a “99% vegetarian” diet comprised mostly of mostly soy, wheat and rice husks.

Pond density never exceeds 4 kilos of tilapia per cubic metre of water, even when the fish are fully grown. Rainforest Tilapia says density in lake-grown tilapia farms ranges from 28-32 kilos per cubic metre.

“Today consumers are not only concerned about acquiring healthier products and in accordance with a balanced diet, but also want to consume all those foods that are the result of a production process that generates the least environmental impact,” said Rainforest’s production manager Jose Soto.

“We prioritise women-owned, local vendors and sponsor literacy and sponsorship programs for our workers. Working with a company like Whole Foods Market, which shares so many of the same values, is very exciting.”

Rainforest Tilapia has both Aquaculture Stewardship Council and BAP 4-star certifications.