Colombia Fish Disaster Highlights Importance of Pond-Raised Aquaculture

Three Million Cage-Raised Tilapia Suffocate Due to Drought and Lack of Control of Environment
March 6, 2007

Colombia Fish Disaster Highlights Importance of Pond-Raised Aquaculture

Three Million Cage-Raised Tilapia Suffocate Due to Drought and Lack of Control of Environment

Following reports on February 28, 2007 by the Associated Press regarding the loss of an estimated 3 million cage-raised tilapia due to a drought in southern Colombia, Norbert Sporns, CEO of HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries, Inc. (OTCBB: HQSB) (formerly OTCBB: HQSM), emphasized the significance of pond-raised aquaculture.

Norbert Sporns said, "This environmental tragedy sadly highlights one of the ongoing debates in the aquaculture industry today about the advantages of pond-raised vs. cage-raised farmed fish. Advocates of cage-raised practices assume that fish in cages are raised in a constantly flowing water supply which reduces the effects of algae cultures and leads to better-tasting, healthier fish. But in fact, this reliance on an uncontrolled water environment can lead to many problems, one of which is horribly dramatized by the disaster in Colombia."

To learn more about the event, Mr. Sporns spoke with Dr. Claude E. Boyd, Professor of Agriculture and Environment at Auburn University, Alabama, and a long-time consultant to numerous domestic and international organizations including the World Aquaculture Society and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Dr. Boyd explained that conflicts in management of water resources can result in such a kill-off.

Dr. Boyd, who is Butler Cunningham Eminent Scholar in Auburn's Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture and the author or co-author of numerous scientific books on pond aquaculture, added, "In general terms, pond culture is more environmentally friendly than cage culture, because it enables greater control of the water environment and effluents that impact the health of the fish."

HQ Sustainable is a leader in toxin-free integrated aquaculture and aquatic product processing. The Seattle-based company's tilapia farm operations are pond-based and located in the environmentally pristine island province of Hainan, China. They are carefully controlled to mimic tilapia's natural habitat. As a vertically integrated operation, HQ maintains control over all aspects of production, from the manufacture of feed, to water quantity and quality, to processing a good-tasting toxin-free final product.

Concerns regarding pond practices focus primarily on the pollution of a closed environment and the growth of algae, which affects the health and taste of the fish. HQ's pond farms demonstrate environmentally friendly aquaculture solutions that ensure sustainable production of good-tasting fish that are free of all toxins, including hormones and antibiotics.

HQ's Pond Raised Solutions

--  Pond environment controls inflow and outflow of water, avoiding the     need for any prophylactic use of antibiotics. --  Pond-grown algae provide excellent feed supplement where adequate     quantities of dissolved oxygen are present, which eliminates any off-flavor     from anaerobic algae cultures. --  HQ's poly-species approach mimics nature by introducing natural     bottom-feeder fish and predator fish to maintain the pond eco-system. --  Tilapia are herbivores and no fishmeal need be added to tilapia feed     which could possibly introduce ocean-sourced pollutants such as heavy     metals, PCBs or dioxins. Pond stability provides favorable feed conversion     rates over cage-raised tilapia. --  Finally, ponds are located away from mangrove swamp areas to preserve     crucial natural habitat, and used pond water provides valuable natural     nutrients to neighboring farmers' fields instead of being released into     waterways, providing downstream concerns to other waterway users.     
The Global Aquaculture Alliance, the World Aquaculture Society and most recently the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) have increased their study of aquaculture techniques in response to growing interest in aquaculture.

"The debate will certainly continue, but I believe consumer opinion is gradually shifting," concluded Mr. Sporns, who cited the following sources of information about innovations in pond aquaculture, particularly in China:

The Government of China has introduced a stringent set of best aquaculture practices, similar to the U.S. HACCP quality control regulations, to encourage the highest standards of aquaculture management in conjunction with products destined for export. These practices help avoid tragic kills like that in Colombia. HQ stringently enforces and enhances these practices with its cooperative suppliers. China is a leading nation in developing such an advanced regulatory framework for export-oriented food practices.

According to "Amber Waves," a publication by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service:

"Chinese officials have resolved to improve the quality and safety of food in China. Initial efforts were aimed at export-oriented production, which has traditionally had much higher standards and often completely separate production and marketing chains from products destined for the domestic market." (See article in Amber Waves, "Food Safety Improvements Underway in China"

HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries, Inc. is an integrated aquaculture and aquatic product processing company, with operations based in the environmentally pristine island province of Hainan, in the South China Sea. HQ practices cooperative sustainable aquaculture, using nutraceutically enriched feeds and conducting fish processing and sales. The company is dedicated to sustainable toxin-free methods giving its customers the purest products possible. The Company holds HACCP certification from the U.S. FDA and the EU Code assignment of quality, permitting its products to be sold in these international markets. It owns a nutraceuticals and health products company, which is HACCP certified, and produces and sells products subject to stringent laboratory tests certified by the China Ministry of Health. This plant produces nutraceuticals, which enrich feed used by HQ's cooperative aquaculture operations. In addition to headquarters in Seattle, HQ has operational offices in Haikou, Hainan.