It gives me great satisfaction to be writing the Tilapia column for the resurrected Aquaculture Magazine. This magazine and I have a connection going back to when I started my career in the early 1980’s. I remember waiting anxiously to receive the magazine, and reading it cover to cover. It provided real stories of other commercial activities starting in the budding aquaculture industry. To be American and surviving in commercial tilapia farming through the 1980’s was a challenge for anyone raising a human family. It was continuous musical chairs of jobs and experiences, making mistakes and waiting for a market to bloom. By 1991, I felt like the old man in the sea of tilapia. I wrote a couple of articles for the magazine, the first (Nov/Dec 1991, Vol 17, We can extend this to an economic consideration as cost of feed is one of the significant contributors to total production costs in aquaculture. Choice of feeds and the cost of acquiring that feed must be carefully considered by anyone in, or considering, aquacultural production. This expense can be influenced by many factors including species grown, life history stage, commodity pricing, and global trade issues. I invite and encourage suggested topics for this column. I will be responsive to your requests. My professional career, over 30 years now, has been in Aquaculture Nutrition, but I am still learning and discovering new aspects of this important area. In future issues, this column will cover a wide range of topics from practical feeding and feed formulation to basic nutrition.
My goal with this column is not to turn you into nutritionists, but to help people understand the topic and interact with feed suppliers. We are fortunate in aquaculture to have a group of feed suppliers that strive to provide quality products. I consider all our feed suppliers friends and understand their need to operate their businesses successfully. I also understand the need to provide high quality feeds for animals and the significant impact feed has on growth, health, reproduction and economic viability of farms. Understanding key aspects of nutrition can improve the interactions with your feed supplier and improve the interactions with animals being grown.
Finally, I am taking this column over from one of the very finest aquaculture nutritionists we have known, Dr. Ron Hardy. It is impossible to replace Ron, but his approach to this column will serve as a guide for my attempts. Nutrition is, almost by definition, a basic science with significant and profound impacts on practical raising of animals. Ron practiced this approach throughout his career which translated into a fundamentally sound and relevant series of articles on the topic. I strive for a similar melding of the science and practical implications.