Aquaculture for all

Drug Induces Tilapia Sex Change for Profit

Nutrition Biosecurity Welfare +7 more

US - According to a recent report, almost all tilapia sold in the U.S. is hormone drug treated and great quantity have undergone a sex change for the sake of company profit.

According to a NaturalNews report, the low price of tilapia is achieved by converting the young females to males through the use of the hormone drug 17alpha-methytestosterone.

Raising an all male population allows fish farmers to produce bigger fish in a shorter time period with less feed, writes Barbara Minton, Natural Health Editor. It also allows them to produce fattened profits. The only problem is that consumers have no idea the fish they are eating have undergone hormone-induced sex changes, and the long term consequences of such changes to health and environment are as yet unknown.

The main species cultured in ponds, cages and pens is the Nile tilapia. The problem with these fish is their quick maturation at two to three months of age, and their ability to start breeding at a rate of once a month. These characteristics result in the overpopulation of stocked tilapia ponds and the stunting of growth because of the crowding of the fish.

Another problem associated with a mix of males and females is the sizes of the fish for harvest varying from small to large due to the faster growth of males. This makes it more difficult to establish uniformity of product. For producers wanting high yields of large-sized fish in three to four months, all male fry are preferred.

Production of all male tilapia can be accomplished by such techniques as separating the males and females manually, hybridization which mates two species to produce all-male offspring, or by artificial sex reversal. The most efficient and least expensive method is sex reversal with the use of 17 alpha-methyltestosterone.

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