Tropical Aquaculture co-founder dies


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 19, 2010

Alfonso Delfini Jr., Tropical Aquaculture Products co-founder and tilapia-farming pioneer, has passed away. He was 46.

Delfini helped start Tropical Aquaculture with John Schramm in 1997, turning it into one of the United States' largest fresh tilapia importers. In the company's e-newsletter on Thursday, Schramm remembered Delfini as a hard-working entrepreneur and kind individual.

"He was quiet, but very involved — sharing, learning and making things better. Alfonso was also a gentleman, relaxed and cool. He had definitely followed a calling at the farm," said Schramm, the Rutland, Vt., company's president. "A heartfelt farewell from all at Tropical and our condolences to his family and team in Ecuador."

Mike Picchietti, president of Regal Springs Tilapia in Bradenton, Fla., who recently worked with Delfini on the World Wildlife Fund's Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogues, called him "fair, honest, knowledgeable and fun as hell."

"Having a competitor that you respect and get along with is rare and a good thing in business, especially pioneering a new species like tilapia. Alfonso was indeed a pioneer and will leave his positive contribution permanently on the tilapia industry," said Picchietti.

"Alfonso was a smart person who loved the tilapia aquaculture industry and was always willing to offer unconditional support. His passion for the aquaculture industry and his innovative approach to the advancement of tilapia aquaculture, mixed together with his charismatic personality, will surely be missed," added Dick Jones of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

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