Oreochromis niloticus niloticus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Global
Production method — All
Certification — Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification
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.

This rating is based on full compliance with certification requirements. Commercial buyers should therefore ensure that full compliance has been achieved in order for this rating to be applicable.

Feed Resources

Criterion score: 0 info

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

Environmental Impacts

Criterion score: 0 info

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.

Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion score: 0 info

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


Criterion score: 4 info

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.

The ASC standards cover the main environmental and social impacts of aquaculture, including fish health, feed and fair employment conditions, by setting metric-based indicators. Farms are assessed annually by external auditors and results published. ASC products are traceable throughout the supply chain. ASC is the only ISEAL compliant aquaculture certification scheme.

Production method


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
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish, White
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.


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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].

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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].

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