Departmental Reports




Popma, T. and L. Lovshin

Date: 1996

Funding Agency: USAID

Keywords: tilapia, aquaculture, development, international

Category: Manual

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Tilapias are
endemic to Africa, but interest

in their aquacultural
potential led to nearly worldwide

distribution within
the past fifty years. Initial

enthusiasm was
based on characteristics that made

tilapia appropriate
for subsistence fish farming in

developing countries.
Several species are herbivores,

readily reproduce
in small ponds and are highly tolerant

of poor water
quality. Interest in commercial production

of tilapia was
initially dampened by a small

harvest size
resulting from excessive reproduction and

stunting. Within
the past twenty years, however,

commercially viable
techniques have been developed

to control
overcrowding in ponds, thereby permitting

growth to larger
sizes. World harvest of cultured tilapias

now surpasses 500,000
MT, second only to carps as

the most widely
farmed freshwater fish in the world.

Production will
continue to expand as the market for

farmed tilapia
grows in developed countries.

This publication is
intended for prospective

investors and
producers to aid in the preliminary

assessment of the
aquacultural potential of tilapia.

We presume that the
readers have some background

in animal husbandry
and are looking for an overall

description of the
production characteristics of tilapia.

We focused on
production techniques rather than on

economic analyses which can only be done on a site specific

basis. Our intention,
however, was to provide

sufficient detail
to permit logistic and economic

analyses under a
given set of conditions. The

contents are based
on available literature and on the

experience of the authors and colleagues

at the International
Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic
Environments at Auburn University

with more than 100 person-years
of experience in

the international development of aquaculture.

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