Tilapia fish tacos
Simple fish tacos are even more delicious if you use sustainable fish like tilapia.
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Tilapia are freshwater fish, native to North Africa and introduced throughout much of Asia, Central and South America and the United States. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch says, “Tilapia is a good candidate for farming, as it provides more protein than it takes to raise it. This is in contrast to some other fish raised in farms, such as salmon or tuna.” Still, farming practices vary wildly. In worst case scenarios, fish cages so crowd production lakes that you can literally walk across them. According to FishChoice.com, a business-to-business online seafood sourcing tool that lists seafood products that meet the sustainability criteria, in China, tilapia is almost always grown in earthen ponds a few feet deep. China is a major supplier of tilapia to North America; this would explain the unfortunate muddy taste of some of the tilapia we’ve encountered in supermarkets.Skip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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This was not the kind of operation Swiss entrepreneur Rudi Lamprecht had in mind when he started Regal Springs in 1988. Headquartered in Florida and with aquafarms in Indonesia, Honduras and Mexico, Regal Springs has built his business based on environmentally and socially responsible practices. In contrast to wall-to-wall cages, Lamprecht’s farms use less than one percent of the water surface their lakes would support. 100 percent of their fish processing waste is recycled into fishmeal and fish oil; some of it becomes biodiesel fuel that powers their trucks and machinery and supplies the farms’ electricity. And the company has developed advanced refrigeration systems that allow them to transport much of their fish by ship rather than air, greatly reducing their carbon footprint.
Regal Springs is just as dedicated to creating a positive social impact with their farms. Besides providing more than 5,000 jobs and indirect income for another 20,000 people, they make major investments in housing, education, health care and infrastructure in the communities. And alarmed by the rapid deforestation going on around them, they started a Fish for Trees program to transition people away from deforestation and toward fish farming. They supply communities with materials to create their own fish farms.