Tilapia

Oreochromis niloticus niloticus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Global
Production method — All
Certification — ASC
Picture of Tilapia

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has recently developed production standards for environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. ASC certified tilapia is good seafood choice as production standards ensure that the environmental impacts of production are minimised and the products can be easily identified by the consumer facing ASC label on pack.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: 3

Responsible sourcing of tilapia feed in encouraged. Tilapia have a low requirement for fish in their diets.

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Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: 3

Chemical usage and discharges are limited and monitored by the ASC standard criteria. There are measures in place to reduce disease and escape events. Overall the ASC standard covers issues of environmental concern.

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Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 0

Welfare criteria are included within the ASC standard but not humane slaughter.

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Management

Criterion Score: 3

There is no strategic level planning that includes tilapia production, however the ASC standards criteria covers areas for regulation of the industry with the exception of Environmental Impact Assessments.

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Production method

All

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.

Alternatives

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
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Haddock
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)
Tilapia

Biology

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.

References

"ASC. 2009. Aquaculture Stewardship Council News: Tilapia standards finalised world's first. Published on 17.12.2009. Available at https://www.asc-aqua.org/news/latest-news/tilapia-standards-finalised-worlds-first/ [Accessed on 07.06.2019]

ASC. 2016. Interim solution on Marine Raw Material Requirements in the ASC Farm Standards. Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Available at https://www.asc-aqua.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ASC-Feed-Interim-solution-Marine-Ingredients_FINAL_20161213.pdf [Accessed on 21.05.2019].

ASC. 2019. ASC Tilapia Standard Version 1.2. Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Available at https://www.asc-aqua.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ASC-Tilapia-Standard_v1.2_Final.pdf [Accessed on 21.05.2019].

FAO. 1989. Aquaculture methods and practices: a selected review. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/t8598e/t8598e05.htm [Accessed on 16.05.2019]. FAO. 2005. 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. Available at: http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Oreochromis_niloticus/en [Accessed on 25.04.2019].

FAO. 2019a. Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics. Global aquaculture production 1950-2017 (FishstatJ). In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 2019. Available at www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstatj/en [Accessed on 11.04.2019]

FAO. 2019c. Aquaculture Feed and Fertilizer Resources Information System: Nile tilapia - Feed formulation. Available at http://www.fao.org/fishery/affris/species-profiles/nile-tilapia/feed-formulation/en [Accessed on 10.05.2019].

Han, D., Shan, X., Zhang, W., Chen, Y., Wang, Q., Li, Z., Zhang, G., Xu, P., Li, J., Xie, S., Mai, K., Tang, Q., and De Silva, S. 2016. A revisit to fishmeal usage and associated consequences in Chinese aquaculture. Reviews in Aquaculture. 10, pp. 493-507. 10. 10.1111/raq.12183. [Accessed on 25.04.2019].

Hanson, A. J., He C., Linlin Z., Clarke, S., Muldoon, G., Potts, J., Huihui, Z. 2011. Greening China's Fish and Fish Products Market Supply Chains. [Online] Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 151 pp. Available at https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/greening_china_fish_en.pdf [Accessed on 25.04.2019]

HNTSA. 2019. Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance. Available at:?http://www.hntsa.org?[Accessed on 20.05.2019]

ISSG (Invasive Species Specialist Group). 2019. Global invasive species database: Oreochromis niloticus. Available at: http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1322 [Accessed on 16.05.2019] Jansen, M. D., Dong, H. T. and Mohan, C. V. 2018. Tilapia lake virus: a threat to the global tilapia industry? Reviews in Aquaculture. 10.1111/raq.12254

Kang, B., Huang, X., Li, J., Liu, M., Guo, L. and Han, C. 2017. Inland Fisheries in China: Past, Present, and Future. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture. 25:4, pp. 270-285. 10.1080/23308249.2017.1285863

Li, Y and Cai, S. 2011. Identification and Pathogenicity of Aeromonas sobria on Tail-rot Disease in Juvenile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Current Microbiology. 62: 2, pp 623-627.

Li, K., Liu, L., Clausen, J. H., Lu, M. and Dalsgaard, A. 2016. Management measures to control diseases reported by tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) and whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) farmers in Guangdong, China. Aquaculture. 457, 20: pp. 91-99. 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2016.02.008.

Liping, L., Zongfeng, Z., Wenbo, Z., Murray, F. and Little, D. 2012. Tilapia aquaculture in China. Global Aquaculture Alliance. Available at https://www.aquaculturealliance.org/advocate/tilapia-aquaculture-in-china/ [Accessed on 16.05.2019].

PRI. 2016. Chinese fish farmers are trying to clean up their aquaculture practices. Available at https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-12-18/chinese-fish-farmers-are-trying-clean-their-aquaculture-practices [Accessed on 04.05.2019].

Seafood Watch (2018) China Farmed Tilapia Seafood Watch Report. Available at https://www.seafoodwatch.org/-/m/sfw/pdf/reports/t/mba_seafoodwatch_tilapiachinareport.pdf [Accessed on 16.05.2019]. SFP. 2018. FishSource Aquaculture Scoring Methodology. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. Available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/fs4.fishsource.org/uploads/ckeditor/attachment_file/data/117/Aquaculture_Scoring_Methodology_for_FishSource__V4_9_March_2018.pdf [Accessed on 21.05.2019].

WHO. 2019. Critically important antimicrobials for human medicine, 6th revision. Geneva: World Health Organization. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. "