[Sca-cooks] tilapia

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Tue Aug 12 11:56:11 PDT 2008

While I have no input towards the "periodness" of this fish I do want
to mention some information recently passed on to my by my sister. Up
until earlier this month she worked for the Florida Department of
Fisheries and Wildlife and she recently took a position with the
Environmental Defense Fund. She is a Marine Biologist with a Masters
in Environmental something or the other (I don't remember the

This past week she had lunch with a PhD who was in town in Florida as
a witness in a Lawsuit filed against Tilapia farms in Florida. As she
explained it to me a mother of two is suing the farmers because eating
Farmed Tilapia almost killed her children. Specifically, the pelleted
food fed to farm-raised tilapia is produced from reef fish that are
harvested in the wild and processed into the pellets.

Apparently the specific reef fishes they harvest have a symbiotic
relationship with a type of algae that produces a neurotoxin that gets
into the fishes flesh - making the fish inedible. By feeding these
fish to the Tilapia they have introduced the marine based neurotoxin
producing algae to the freshwater Tilapia producing near fatal results
for this woman's family. It is very similar to what happened with the
whole Mad Cow thing.

My sister said that these reef based pelleted food are not restricted
to Florida and she cautioned me to avoid feeding farm raised Tilapia
to my child.

Now, who knows what might come of this. It may be a freak occurrence
or it might be something we see more of - who knows. Combined with the
recent findings regarding the nutritional values (or lack thereof) of
Farmed fish it is enough to make me wary of eating farm raised fish.
And I bring it up here because the only fish that I would be able to
afford on a feast budget would most assuredly be farm raised.


Serena da Riva

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