Located around 34 miles from Grimsby, one of the UK's largest fish markets, two fish farms operating under the name 'The Fish Company' are producing around 250 tonnes of red and black tilapia each year for the UK market.
Farm owner John Ward introduced The Fish Company as the only tilapia farming company in the UK. The company also stands out as it assures that fish are raised on a sustainably sourced tilapia feed diet, free of hormones and GM and that the farm is run sustainably.
The Fish Company currently sources its tilapia fry from Til Aqua in the Netherlands. Once at the farm, the fish are reared in nursery tanks before being transported to ongrowing tanks where they reach a size of 350 - 450 grams, depending on the market.
As tilapia grow well in warm waters, the tilapia are grown in an indoor closed recirculation system which has a water turnaround of five per cent a day.
By housing tilapia indoors, water conditions are easily controlled and managed, making the chance of disease small. It also allows the company to farm all year round.
In order to operate sustainably, the company has invested in solar panels and a wood chip boiler which continuously heats the water to around 28 degrees and provides power for the farm.
In terms of freshness, The Fish Company assures customers that tilapia is always sold fresh, never frozen, and can reach the plate in a matter of a few hours after harvest.
The Fish Company currently sells its tilapia to UK retailers such as Morrisons and to restaurants through M&J Seafoods. Fish are also sold directly to fishmongers and through Billingsgate market.
With firm flesh and a mild taste, tilapia is an excellent fish to cook. It also easily takes up flavours, making it ideal for curries.
As tilapia is also high in phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B12, omega 3 and 6 but low in fat, consumers should take advantage of this healthy fish that is sustainably produced and 100 per cent traceable.