Aquaculture for all

Tilapia: Tomorrow's Food

GLOBE - The president of the World Aquaculture Society has recently called tilapia as the "food fish of the 21st century", expecting consumption to boom in the coming years.

According to the Sun Star, tilapia has been around since biblical times. Most of them were raised before in Africa, but accidental and deliberate introductions of tilapia into freshwater lakes made them feasible to be raised in tropical climate such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Considered the "aquatic chicken," the tilapia has good attributes that make it suitable for aquaculture. "It matures early, breeds readily and is a hardy fish," Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III, the executive director of the Laguna-based Philippine Council for Aquaculture and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD), told the Sun Star.

"In the United States, tilapia has shown the biggest gains in popularity among seafood, and this trend is expected to continue as consumption is projected to increase from 1.5 million tons in 2003 to 2.5 million tons by 2010," the Journal of the American Dietetic Association disclosed.

Like Americans, Europeans are also fond of tilapia since they consider it as "white meat," a health food low in cholesterol and fat. Also, chefs have a preference for tilapia's firm meat.

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