Grill it, bake it, fry it, poach it. Tilapia has a firm, flaky white flesh and a mild taste to adapt to any style of cooking and every combination of flavors.


Tilapia is native to Africa and well suited to aquaculture, and is a robust, fast-growing and easy-to-rear species. Its adaptability in cooking, ease to farm and relatively low cost have made it a popular seafood around the world. This tasty fish grows rapidly, breeds readily and eats a mostly vegetarian diet, making it an excellent choice for aquaculture. Try tilapia with beurre rouge and toasted orzo or crispy tilapia tacos.

 

Also known as:

Tilapia, blue tilapia, Mozambique tilapia, Nile tilapia, St. Peter’s fish

Availability:

Year-round

Product forms:

Fresh and frozen, whole, fillets or pre-seasoned

Shopping tips:

Tilapia skin color can vary, but has no affect on the taste of the fish.

Substitutions:

Tilapia is flaky and mild-tasting, and can be substituted for any similar fish, including flounders, cod or other mild, white fish.

Recipes:

Tilapia with beurre rouge and toasted orzo

Crispy tilapia tacos

Farming Method: Tilapia is very versatile and can be grown in all aquaculture production facilities including ponds, raceways, floating cages and tanks. More.

Conservation Notes:

Farmed tilapia eat a predominantly vegetarian-based diet, reducing the need to harvest wild fish to feed them. More.
Last Updated: August 2010

 

Farming Method

Tilapia is very versatile and can be grown in all aquaculture production facilities including ponds, raceways, floating cages and tanks. Pond production is the most common method globally, usually using a series of three ponds—a pond for breeding, a pond for fry (young tilapia) to acclimate pond and a pond for tilapia to grow until they are ready to be harvested. In the US, tilapia are most commonly farmed in tanks that reuse production water, whereas in Latin America, pond culture is the predominant method. A tilapia is ready to be harvested when it is about six months old.

Conservation Notes

Farmed tilapia eat a predominantly vegetarian-based diet, reducing the need to harvest wild fish to feed them. Tilapia are also relatively resistant to disease which can help reduce or eliminate the need for chemicals or antibiotics. As a whole, tilapia have fewer impacts than other farmed species, making them a good seafood choice. While tilapia are a good all-around choice, U.S. farms are often held to higher environmental requirements and grown in systems that further minimize the potential for escapes. Farms in Latin America generally have good environmental practices and can be considered ocean-friendly choices. There are of course individual farms in other countries that also produce to high environmental standards. Look for those products that highlight their environmentally responsible actions.