FAI, Spring Genetics partner on enhanced tilapia welfare standards

A Spring Genetics employee testing tilapia
Spring Genetics employees are receiving training from FAI to enhance the company's tilapia welfare standards | Photo courtesy of Spring Genetics
4 Min

FAI, an aquaculture welfare research and development company, and Spring Genetics, a tilapia-breeding business, launched a new partnership aimed at promoting and enhancing tilapia welfare standards. 

The partnership will see Spring Genetics receiving welfare-focused training from FAI, and the two companies said the partnership will help tackle the high mortality rates and climate change challenges that the industry faces globally, with a special focus on the Americas.

“I’ve long admired FAI’s work, and by partnering with them, we aim to enhance tilapia welfare across our breeding sites and among our clients,” Spring Genetics CEO and Co-Owner Hideyoshi Segovia-Uno said in a release. “Welfare is crucial to improving fish performance, alongside genetics, nutrition, and health management. FAI's expertise and user-friendly tools will greatly benefit our work in the industry and help us improve animal welfare with greater ease and efficiency.”

Spring Genetics, based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., works on tilapia breeding and genetics for the global tilapia industry. The company previously signed an agreement with Lake Harvest Group, one of the largest integrated tilapia operations in Africa, to provide high-performing Nile tilapia broodstock. The company was awarded the first-ever tilapia genetics import license in Colombia.

In October 2023, Spring Genetics completed a management buyout from Benchmark Holdings. Benchmark had purchased Spring Genetics in 2015, and with the management buyout, the two companies said that they would continue working together to advise Spring Genetics’ Tilapia Selective Breeding Program. 

The latest partnership with FAI, Segovia-Uno said, will help the company enhance its tilapia program.

“Prioritizing animal welfare is crucial for enhancing the most important performance indicators in our operations and those of our clients,” he said. “This approach aligns with our commitment to the well-being of the fish we breed while simultaneously optimizing productivity and overall performance.”

FAI Director Murillo Quintiliano started the partnership with a “train the trainers” workshop, giving an overview of tilapia welfare practices, including information about FAI’s Tilapia Welfare App and an overview of the company’s e-learning resources.

FAI’s Tilapia Welfare App is designed to overview welfare indicators for tilapia producers. The free app gives producers information on health topics – such as fins, operculum, gills, and eyes – environmental factors, behavior, and nutrition.

“We are opening farmers’ eyes to new ways of growing tilapia. This partnership will facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration across the industry, paving the way for improvement in aquaculture practices,” Quintiliano said. “In time, we will extend our collaborative efforts into Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America, complementing existing activities in Brazil and beyond. This partnership will be a catalyst for positive change throughout the region.”

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