To understand what Trapia really is, one must understand the value chain from egg-to-plate and the invaluable team of people who diligently contributes to the highest standard in each step. The Trapia end product is of finest quality, but what does it take to make this quality? To find out we have to look closer at the origin of the fish. When we trace the fish back to the origin we find Marietta (Mayet) de Vera. When we catch up with Mayet, we celebrate the completion of the 20th generation of the unique GenoMar strain of tilapia- our Trapia. Generation 21 is already in the making. This is all due to a hard-working and well composed team lead by Mayet.
Mayet is nothing less than an expert in her field, breeding of tilapia. She was a varsity swimmer and is happily married. She is the mother of 3 boys. However, it still seems the trapia breeding nucleus has her main focus. Though, perhaps has some of her family skill also transferred to her team? It is no secret that the breeding nucleus and the team excel under the skilful leadership of Mayet.
Mayet has built up her expertise working with tilapia since she completed her Master of Science in Aquaculture in 1987 at Central Luzon State University in the Science city of Muñoz, Philippines. She then worked with ICLARM and the GIFT foundation on contract for GenoMar (Biosoft previously). Today she is working for GenoMar directly. Thus, Mayet has been loyal to the tilapia breed. Although she has some experience with Chinese Carp, it was only a brief encounter and in the start of her career. Thus, we can safely conclude from her career that tilapia nilotica (Oreochromis Niloticus) is her specialty.
This brings us to ask her- why tilapia?
I think I have worked with tilapia for so long due to many reasons. The species tilapia is described as the ‘aquatic chicken’. The use of this fish is so versatile. Tilapia nilotica is the most popular and most important cultured species of tilapia with many attributes for culture species. It is also becoming the model in the application of genetics in aquaculture because of its short generation interval. And last but not least, tilapia is a good candidate for filling the gap of world fish production with decreasing capture fisheries production.
What do you see as challenges connected to the trapia strain?
Well, the fish are intolerant to low temperatures, and this is an impediment to the development. It is also a problem that the fish get disease, which is either treated with antibiotics or to prevent disease. To avoid both these strategies we could select the fish that stays healthy and strong, and make these the parents of healthy offspring. Maybe make it more tolerant to temperature fluctuations as well. To improve such qualities of the fish gives the consumer value for money, and done in the right way it offers the consumers values for money.
In the Philippines, Mayet adds, we are experiencing a gap between the management of the fish and the technology. To set a standard for best farming practice is in my opinion a very welcome improvement to the culture of tilapia as a whole. In my opinion, there will always be someone, who thinks they have found a shortcut to a better result. We are currently working with generation 21, and we know that there are no shortcuts. Even to be in possession of a higher generation will make it easier, but you have to take each step in this chain seriously. Only then will the fish stay healthy, grow faster and larger.
For GenoMar the expertise and insight to the entire value chain is rooted in this origin and the investment of time, money and effort by Mayet and her team. The result is a top quality fish. The aim is to keep working to make sure the fish is growing healthily and that the consumers get a product they can trust.
Click here for more about the breeding nucleus
Mayet and her team