Fast-growing and hardy, tilapia is environment friendly and easy to grow for both small- and large-scale farmers. It is affordable and helps resource-poor consumers meet their nutritional requirements, especially in developing countries.
Here are some interesting facts about tilapia:
- Tilapia is the second-most farm-raised fish in the world after carp.
- Algae or other plant-based fish food can be used for tilapia farming, making it a sustainable alternative to fragile wild fish stocks and farmed fish that require animal protein based feed.
- Tilapia farming on a mostly vegetarian diet also reduces the cost of farming for aquaculture producers.
- Tilapia quickly adapts to changing environments including fresh or brackish water, enabling farmers to produce them in different farming systems.
- When steamed, grilled or poached tilapia is a good source of protein, nutrients and essential fatty acids.
- Tilapia has a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids than other meats including chicken, pork and beef.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain function as well as growth and development.
- Wild tilapia has a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids than farmed tilapia.
- Farmed tilapia’s omega-3 profile can be be increased through feed supplements including flaxseed, chia and perilla seeds.
- Tilapia contains essential omega-6 fatty acids, and is rich in vitamins D, B12 and B6. Vitamin B12 is crucial for nervous system function, B6 helps the body to metabolize fats and proteins while vitamin D is important for immunity.
- Fish has a lower carbon footprint than red meat. Tilapia shows lower emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus per kilogram protein produced compared to chicken, beef and pork.
- Tilapia is a hardy fish and does not require the use of antibiotics for growth.
- WorldFish developed the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) strain, which thrives in a wide range of environments.
- The GIFT strain grows 100% faster than the fish used at the beginning of the breeding program.
- In Egypt, the Abbassa strain of Nile tilapia, developed by WorldFish, grows 28% faster than the most common commercial strain.