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Investor sparks growth for innovative tilapia farmer

Fisher's aluminium cage uses floats made from recycled PET bottles. Photo: Fisher.
Fisher's aluminium cage uses floats made from recycled PET bottles. Photo: Fisher.

A Brazilian tilapia farmer using an innovative cage system is being helped to expand capacity six-fold by sustainable aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark.

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The fund’s investment in Fisher Piscicultura will contribute towards expanding production capacity on the farm from 50 to 300 tonnes per month.

Fisher’s expertise spans agribusiness, the Brazilian electricity industry, and water management, and it was the first to farm the man-made Aqua Vermelha reservoir, described in a press release as highly suitable for tilapia cultivation.

Recycled PET bottles

The company’s cage system includes integrated automatic feeders and hyper-efficient grading systems. The cages are built from aluminium and stay buoyant by using recycled PET bottles. Aqua-Spark said the system contributes to significantly decreased labour costs, improved animal welfare, increased growth, and higher than average production parameters.

Fisher is in the process of developing a vertically integrated production unit, which places cages, feed mill, processing plant, rendering plant, and infrastructure in a single site.

Cages on site, stocked with tilapia. Photo: Fisher.
Cages on site, stocked with tilapia. Photo: Fisher.
The cage includes a removable section. Image: Fisher.
The cage includes a removable section. Image: Fisher.

Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, said: “Aquaculture is booming in Brazil, and we’ve been keen to help the Brazilian sector develop sustainably - especially where tilapia is concerned.

“Tilapia farming has been in practice for thousands of years, and the species is one of the most consumed fish in the world. Because tilapia is so well-known and naturally suited to aquaculture - when farms choose to get it right - it can be truly sustainably produced.”

Large internal market

Alexandre Pulino, a co-founder of Fisher, said: “Brazil has all the requirements needed to become a world leader in aquaculture – water, feed ingredients, proper climate, and a large internal market. To make the best of our local conditions, we need to develop our own technology package as we did for other agroindustries. With the help of Aqua-Spark, we believe that in the near future our cage in combination with integrated producers’ systems can become the leading technology of the Brazilian sector.”

Aqua-Spark invests in aquaculture companies across the value chain, and has €95.6 million in assets under management.

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