According to ‘Aquafinca Saint Peter Fish’ - a Honduras-based fish hatcheries company, demand from the European cosmetics industry alone for tilapia (fish skin processed for the production of collagen) will see its exports reach USD 600,000 (€458,000) this year.
Company managing director Orlando Delgado says the raw material is widely sought after in large volumes for creams, cosmetics and fragrances on the European continent, particularly in France and Italy.
“We are currently the only company exporting this product in Honduras, and about 250,000 kilograms of the material goes to Europe,” he reveals whilst adding that “company forecasts reckon that in 2013, it could be possible to export about 700,000 kilograms.”
Delgado also highlights that in preparation for the coming year, Aquafinca has carried out preliminary negotiations with a company in France with which they have already “calculated a substantial increase in shipments, which will almost triple.”
Nothing goes to waste..
The entrepreneur goes on to point out that nothing goes to waste in the process and that even the scales of tilapia are used and exported to the Asian cosmetic market, for example.
"It's an interesting issue, these are sub-products obtained from tilapia, which are 100 per cent used. We export the scales to the Asian market, especially to Thailand," he says.
After processing tilapia, biodiesel and fishmeal are also said to be produced and used "as a concentrate for other animals, so that the industry does not waste anything."
Demand bodes well for the country's economy
According to the Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Digepesca) in the northwest area of Honduras, small tilapia producers are generating 278,000 pounds monthly.
It also highlighted that the country sent the US 31 per cent of its tilapia fillets imports in the last year, resulting in it also becoming its' main supplier. It was said to have been followed by Ecuador, with a 30 per cent share; Costa Rica, with 24 per cent and Colombia, with 11 per cent.
According to Aquafinca's MD, "reaching 18.1 million pounds of tilapia fillets is very positive for the country, as it surpassed Ecuador in one million, since this country only sent 17.1 million pounds this year."