Monthly Archives: May 2014

FischMagazin Interview with Dr. Michael Timmons

The follow interview was conducted by Imke Zimmermann (Press Relations for German Fish International Trade Show, Bremen Germany-February 9-11, 2014, which was then published in the German expert magazine on our topic, FischMagazin, Contact Info for Ms. Zimmermann


1.    With a RAS you can earn a small fortune – if you beforehand invest a large one, people say half-jokingly. Indeed we’ve seen lots of projects go bust. You, Prof. Timmons, even pledged a mortgage on your house ((if I understood that correctly from the cv in your book??)) to get the money to co-finance a RAS for Tilapia. Apparently you were optimistic … So please tell us: Which conditions must be fulfilled for a successful project?

In June of 1996, four individuals created Fingerlakes Aquaculture, LLC, including Dr. Michael B. Timmons of Cornell University, who mortgaged his own house to get the initial capitalization.  After a rocky startup, Fingerlakes Aquaculture stayed in business for 12 years and produced over 3,000 tonnes of tilapia. By those statistics, Michael can claim a success.  This success or at least FLA’s longevity at being in business for such a long time can be attributed to several factors:

Implemented in a series of stages (university prototype, small 100 tonne farm, followed by larger 500 tonne farm)
Large scale operations, economy of scale and market
Trained and motivated workforce
Improved technology
Adequate water
Electrical rates below typical market prices ($0.04/kwh)
Targeted marketing approach

Probably the most important of these was a phased production program, i.e., a ramp up over time. Many business plans start with some large scale operation, which is usually necessary to show a positive cash flow. Unfortunately, almost always, these operations, if funded, are unsuccessful. It is extremely difficult to achieve large scale success without having first built this capacity [...]

RAS Technology Workshop

July 31 - August 1, 2014

The Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) Technology Workshop is a 2-day workshop July 31-August 1, that is designed for a broad audience. A few of the topics covered include developing an appropriate design for your aquaculture application, the management of recirculating systems, waste management issues and economic considerations. We will seek to provide non-biased, research-based information to those that are interested in, or those using recirculating aquaculture fish production systems. The information presented comes either from the first-hand research results and experiences of the presenters or those of collaborators or colleagues around the world.

If you would like more information regarding the workshop, please email: or visit:

S. Florida Tilapia Producers

South Florida live – Tilapia Producers Burst on the Scene

For U.S. tilapia producers, there is one big question regarding the live tilapia market in this country. This important question is: Will history repeat itself as dramatically as it did in the 1980s when U.S. fillet producers lost their businesses to lower tech, lower cost producers from Central and South America?

Click HERE to download the Aquaculture Magazine article by Mike Picchietti