Geographic and economic factors play a large role in the decision of what type of farm should be used. Recirculating ponds are ideal for locations with ample space for growing tilapia. These are specifically made for aquaculture purposes. The construction of these ponds ensures there is no risk of fish escaping into surrounding ecosystems. Our pond-based farm in Ecuador takes advantage of the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of the Sierra Region mountains to create a mixture of fresh and salt water known as brackish water. Tilapia raised in this closed system tend to be sweeter and produce a firmer fillet for cooking.
Another standard method of farming utilizes floating net pens. These pens are typically placed in reservoirs, lakes, or rivers where the tilapia are safe and do not threaten local environments. The natural currents of the reservoir filter through the open net pens and ensure the tilapia have clean, oxygenated water to live and grow in. This method takes advantage of existing bodies of water and can accommodate large populations of tilapia. The enclosures are carefully monitored and maintained daily to ensure escapes and contamination do not occur.
Each method of farming has its own set of benefits and drawbacks; the beauty of it is to have these different options available so that we can take advantage of local resources and minimize the environmental impact with a variety of aquaculture systems.