For over a decade, we have worked to provide responsibly farmed products. In order to do so, we continuously monitor our practices to identify and address factors that could impact the sustainability of our production systems.

One of the many areas we continuously monitor in our farming operations is our formulated feed. We verify that the nutrients and energy requirements for farmed Tilapia are met while minimizing our impact on the environment.

As mentioned in Issue 16 of our newsletter, by the second quarter of 2011 we were able to reduce our FIFO ratio from 0.16 to 0.13. At the end of 2011, we reached yet another goal by lowering the ratio to a net zero when we modified the source of fishmeal in our Tilapia feed. Now, we exclusively use fishmeal from by-products originated from sustainable fisheries such as the Ecuadorian Tuna Industry, which is highly regulated by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

With this achievement, we are able to produce a more sustainable product by eliminating the pressure on wild stocks caught for fishmeal. The result of a zero FIFO ratio is a net contribution to global fish supplies.

In 2012 we plan to make our tilapia feed even more eco-friendly by reducing the amount of protein in the feed and thus, reducing the nitrogen footprint of our farming systems. We will make these changes to the feed formula all while complying with the ingredient and processing guidelines for feed production.

The nitrogen footprint in aquaculture production refers to the difference between the nitrogen introduced into the farming system and the nitrogen content in the harvested fish. During our most recent BAP audit, our nitrogen footprint was calculated as 0.35 Kg per ton of harvested fish - well below the industry's standard. The average nitrogen waste from aquaculture operations is between 42 and 66 Kg per ton of fish produced (2005, Strain and Hargrave).

As we continue to produce seafood with an outlook for the future, we always keep in mind the animal's nutritional needs and the nutritional characteristics of the final product. We are constantly working to ensure our Tilapia is a dependable healthy source of lean-protein farmed in an eco-friendly manner.

As we are about to end 2011 and Tropical’s 16th year of operation, I would like to send this short note of thanks and updates. I hope to cover everyone!

Tropical would like to thank each of our customers for enduring the minor cavitation’s associated with growth and expansion. The implementation of our new accounting and distribution system has certainly tested the patience of staff and customers alike.

We have made necessary expansions and improvements to possibly every area of our business, likely too many to recognize in this note, but all in the effort to continuously expand and improve our commitment to our customers.

Farms and Processing Plants have expanded production and improved practices, while either becoming certified or re-certifying for sustainability and food safety/quality audits including BAP, ISRTA, GlobalG.A.P., IMO and SQF.

The entire staff at Tropical would like to thank both Levittown Fish (Handling) and Carty’s Logistics for providing first-rate services in the area of JFK distribution.  Both companies have facilitated a nearly flawless transition.  Both companies clearly understand Tropical’s customer service commitment to its customers and have been instrumental in raising this bar. Many Thanks. We also thank the teams at Rank, Tidewater, Araho, Eassons, and A1, Alpha and Flegenheimer for their continued efforts – We truly believe you are all key drivers in our success.  If we haven’t said thanks enough throughout the year…Thanks for all you do.

Special appreciation to our customers.  You have endured the major and minor hiccups with every improvement listed above in one-way or another.  In an effort to better serve you, it was necessary to reposition our Customer Service Reps…Many of you wrote some very compelling notes in support of keeping your former Reps; while these notes were some of the most supportive I’ve ever read, thanks for working through the transitions.  I also thank each of Tropical’s CSR’s for their continued support and commitment…as a team, you are among the best.

In a business that receives little thanks and appreciation throughout the year I would like to Thank You All…Production, Processing (Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Ireland), Logistics (domestic and foreign), Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Customers, Truckers, Customs Brokers, Warehouses, Diversified, Trade Publications, NGO’s, My Partners, My Wife, Samantha and Sophia…for a year of commitment, patience, support, understanding and simple smiles.

Best wishes and many thanks to Marty Notte. As many of you know, Marty has been with Tropical for 14 years and has decided to take up a new career focused on leisure and “grandparenthood”.  Thanks for your years of dedication, wit and humor.

Hoping you have all had a Wonderful Holiday Season.  We look forward to 2012 and working with each of you.

Best wishes,