DALSTON has been chosen as a focal point in the campaign to market an edible fish that has become a commercial sensation elsewhere in the world.
The FARM:shop that has just opened at 20 Dalston Lane, between the shiny new railway station and the old CLR James Library, is a transformation of a Victorian terrace building into a food factory, growing salad, herbs, mushrooms and eggs (picture, above).
What has attracted interest from fish dealers around Britain are the tanks at the front of the ground floor to grow Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Batches of 80 will be sent by road every few months from the University of Stirling to be grown in the tanks and sold live. The university’s marketing department is a leading force in Scottish Enterprise’s promotion of the freshwater fish.
The fish, which originated in northeast Africa and was propagated by farms throughout Asia and then America, has been described as potentially “the biggest food phenomenon of this century… the aquatic chicken because it is so fast-growing”.
Huge profits are envisaged and it is hoped that farms will proliferate throughout southeast England to raise tilapia as a replacement for whiting, haddock and cod in mass-market food such as fish and chips, sushi, stews and soups.
Some tilapia escapees, especially in the Gulf States, have become problem invaders, overcoming native species as they compete for the same food. Tilapia that have escaped from aquaculture facilities may, it is feared, interbreed and form hybrids.
Hamish Scott 231110
*The FARM:shop aims to open from Thursdays to Sundays until summer 2011. It is volunteer-based so if you want to join a Big Society enterprise, phone Sam 07951 123 385, Andy 07855 027 876, Paul 07736 002 006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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