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Growing Nile fish in Niter water | Preston Citizen

Growing Nile fish in Niter water

September 28, 2013
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Story and photos by RODNEY D. BOAM 

 

Raising warm water fish in the cool, clear waters of Southeast Idaho may seem far-fetched until someone discovers the tilapia farming operation of Dutchboy Farms in Niter. John Lambregts, an aqua-culturist and owner of Dutchboy Farms, raises tilapia that are originally from the warm waters in Thailand. These fish are commonly believed to be the same species as the few fish in the bible that Jesus used to feed 5,000 people with five loaves bread.

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Raising tilapia in the crystal clear waters in Idaho is an anomaly. The fish is considered an invasive species; they cannot survive in water below 70 degrees.

But if one could find a warm spring that runs at 85°F year-round, it would be a good match for the beefy fish that is growing in popularity on American dinner plates.

Richard Ambrosek, operations manager of Dutchboy Farms, watches while owner John Lambregts checks the oxygen level of water for a container of fingerling tilapia.

Richard Ambrosek, operations manager of Dutchboy
Farms, watches while owner John Lambregts checks the oxygen level of water for a container of fingerling tilapia.

Sometimes referred to as aquatic chicken, they have large scales, are more meaty than trout and don’t have the fishy taste trout is known for. They also are not predators, but feed on algae and other aquatic plants.

Lambregts, who holds a Master’s degree in ag economics from Texas A&M, also owns a couple of trout farms in the Pocatello area.

This story is sponsored by Riverdale Resort.

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