Tilapia culture in trinidad and tobago: yet another update

Tilapia – the historical promise for today’s social justice and security

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Tilapia – the historical promise for today’s social justice and security

Yedod Snir and Israel Snir

Neve Eitan Fish Farm, Israel 38885, Inversiones miel – Honduras


Big companies policy on social and environment responsibility is always questionable. Is this just another way to clean their guilty conscience, a deceiving strategy which aims primarily to improve their short term and immediate economical and financial results? Or is it a real understanding that taking care of people and the environment is the best investment strategy they can make for long term sustainability and profitability?

Whatever we do, as human beings, will have its impact on the environment. From the moment we born we indeed contaminate – as we breathe, as we eat, as we build, as we fight, as we live. The ever-present need to produce and to stay active, in order to sustain ourselves, our families, and our countries - the humanity – is a destructive process.

As we are all aware the globe is hosting more and more habitants – world’s population keeps growing, meanwhile the natural resources we all depend on for our basic existence are quickly depleting, because of us, and because of others.

We all understand this process is accelerated each and every day. We are all desperately searching for the right formula which will allow more mouths to depend on fewer resources, more newborn given the opportunity to a fair life. Hopefully this will be a life which could help us balance between our indispensable needs and our economical and livelihood activities.

Aquaculture as a whole is an “industry” involved in land, water, air and people; could Tilapia be the “promised” specie to offer the best reasonable potentially balanced formula which at the same time is considerably caring about peoples, the environment, and the benefit of the economy – the investor?.

This paper is describing a very small country located in Central America. It is only a two hours flight from Miami which is closer than most other major cities in America. While it is only three days boat ride, from the USA, the country is basically a different planet, different globe, light years of distance, far away from the daily routine we all familiar with. With an annual GDP of a few hundred dollars or in the best case few thousands, how can one face the enormous challenges for maintaining basic daily life and society order? Let alone when it comes for “altruistic causes” like preserving the environment or caring about others or looking for more justice.

Despite all these hardships, typical constrains in such an underdeveloped country, almost all of the aquatic products (better term than Seafood) America eats is coming from countries with a similar unfortunate circumstances around the globe and in the case of Tilapia Tropical countries. It is quite obvious to the world that those who have will do whatever they can to ensure a continuous flow from those who don’t have. Of course, these are the markets, the banks, the stomachs that can afford paying for this activity and they are those who making the rules.

The recent flourishes of so many certifying organizations, mostly NGOs, are primarily aimed at “selfish” approach to assure the quality, acceptability and stability of the aquatic products supply – in the current terminology - transparency and sustainability. However, one must be very careful in making sure it is not becoming a way to express a modern colonialism…

This is exactly the point I will try to demonstrate - how a small country, remote communities, forgotten children, after so many years of traditional environmentally destructive practices – how they transformed and were able to put together a sustainable project which is changing their life, ours. How they manage to combine natural resource, water, energy, Tilapia, foresting, communities, health, education, government, private sector, investor – how they all together made the change. How local native stakeholders learn to watch their OWN long term interests, how big companies investment in people becoming a strategy, how illiterates people interpreted amorphous and theoretical terminology into day to day constructive practices for the benefit of all, their families, communities, countries, and us - the globe. It is a modest attempt to show some of the process where so many people were and are involved – and hopefully to inspire others.


Professor Emmanuel Frimpong

Virginia Tech University


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