Tilapia takes fish markets by storm
by Sapumali GALAGODA
Tilapia is taking the world fish markets by storm, growing from a
small subsistence species to an important economic food security
commodity. It is the second largest cultured fish with a global
production of nearly three million metric tons. It is cultivated in Sri
Lanka, though in small quantities. Therefore, considering global demand
we should cultivate more Tilapias which will not only earn foreign
exchange but also provide self-employment, said a grower of Tilapia.
Although indigenous to Africa, it is now grown in many continents
across the world.
The popularity of Tilapia as food has increased in many domestic and
foreign markets which were traditionally not receptive to this species,
states Infofish magazine. The top three Tilapia markets in the world are
China, Egypt and the Philippines, all of which are also producing
countries. However the fourth, developed lately is a western import
market - the USA. Tilapia is the second most popular white fish
preferred by American consumers.
It continues to increase its market share every year even during the
years of financial crisis; consumption increased by 42 percent in the US
wInfofish further states that Vietnam's great success in marketing
"Pangasius Catfish" in Europe is well-known.
The Tilapia is also gaining market share in Europe including in the
Eastern block. High quality Tilapia fillets have made inroads to many
restaurants in Southern Europe and also in Switzerland.
The premium export prices that Tilapia fillets fetch in European
markets should be a matter of interest to potential investors, farmers
In the southern Asian restaurant trade 'Red Tilapia' has largely
replaced the "Seacaught Red Snapper" over the decade. It has now entered
the retail market as well. From China to Thailand, live Tilapia is
widely sold in the supermarkets along with fresh fish. The retail price
has also increased as supplies quite often are unable to match the
growing demand. It is time to think Tilapia. Either you are on the
bandwagon of producers culturing it by not very traditional methods and
not using very traditional species of Tilapia or you have found your
markets giving away a substantial share to the imported Tilapia. One
good thing about Tilapia is that it is a hardy fish which is easy to
culture and its white flesh is acceptable to all categories of consumers
across the globe, states the Infofish Considering the rising demand for
fish in developing and developed markets, the largely herbivorous
Tilapia could be the choice in sustainable aquaculture be it in Asia,
Africa or Latin America.