Tropenhaus Frutigen has continued to play a leading role in sustainable fish farming since the first sturgeon were bred at the facility in 2005. Together with the Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health at the University of Berne, it has optimised the fish husbandry conditions and has developed new, animal-friendly methods, such as determining the point in time when the caviar has reached optimal maturity. Today around 80,000 sturgeon swim around in the breeding tanks, alongside the perch (picture) and zander.
Besides the warm water from the inside of the Lötschberg mountain, the recirculation system at Tropenhaus Frutigen is also a secret to success: The water tanks used for breeding fish are arranged in such a way that the same treated water always circulates within them. Pumps move the water from the central water treatment plant upwards into the tanks; it then flows downwards and back into the plant to be cleaned. Thanks to efficient filtration systems, the water quality in the basins is above-average, which is thereby beneficial for the health of the fish and the quality of the products. Antibiotics and other medication are deliberately not used. Sustainability and species-appropriate keeping of the animals enjoy the highest priority for fish farming at Tropenhaus Frutigen.
Fish is a healthy and popular choice of food. The huge increase in fish consumption around the world over the last few decades is testament to this. Consequently, the number of fish in the waters, including the number of sturgeon, has declined dramatically: overfishing is the sad diagnosis around the world. As a result of the hunger for fish, in particular the much sought-after expensive caviar, most of the 26 types of sturgeon are in danger of extinction. Wild sturgeon fishing is prohibited virtually worldwide. The sensible and sustainable alternative to wild fishing is therefore fish farming. The fish grow in pools or tanks and are fed food without the addition of medication or hormones.