Oreochromis niloticus niloticus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Zimbabwe
Production method — Open net pen
Picture of Tilapia

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

Tilapia farmed in lakes in Zimbabwe are produced with low environmental impacts, making them a good seafood choice. Native fish are used, no chemicals are used in production and the feed used is mainly vegetarian resulting in a low demand for wild fish in the diet.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: 2

Feed for this species in this area is locally grown and produced. Fish content of feed is low but there are no assurances of sustainability.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: 1

The area of production is in low ecological sensitivity and is subject to a Environmental Impact Assessment and monitoring. A small amount of chemicals are used and their use monitored. Disease transfer and escapes are considered low risk.


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 2

Welfare and humane slaughter practices are adopted, high welfare is essential to prevent disease outbreaks.



Criterion Score: 0

There is no regional level planning but there is a range of regulations to address most of the issues of environmental concern and these are deemed to be effective. There is no independent certification for this species.


Production method

Open net pen

Tilapia can be farmed in a number of ways, which varies according to country and size of production. They can be produced in open systems, using pens submerged in freshwater bodies, or in raceways that are flushed by streams.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


Tilapia is a generic name used to describe groups of fish called cichlids that are native to Africa. Tilapia are hardy, freshwater fish that tolerate a wide range of water conditions. They inhabit warm ponds, lakes and streams, and reproduce in fresh and brackish water. They mainly feed on phytoplankton, zooplankton and algae. They reach a maximum size of 45cm and a weight of 2kg.


FAO 2005-2018.Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Oreochromis niloticus. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by Rakocy, J. E. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 18 February 2005. [Cited 12 September 2018].

A review of global tilapia farming practices (NACA). Available online at: http://www.enaca.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=453

ASC Tilapia standard v1.0 (2012)Available online at: https://www.asc-aqua.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ASC-Tilapia-Standard-v1-1-Clean.pdf

Moneteray Bay Aquarium. Seafood Watch report. Tilapia. Available online at: http://seafood.ocean.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Tilapia-Nile-Blue-Tilapia-Mozambique-Tilapia-Hybrid-Tilapia-US.pdf

Lake Harvest. Fish Farms. Available online at : http://www.lakeharvest.com/fish-farms/