Tilapia is one popular fish aside from tuna and salmon that are exported and imported by many countries. The Tilapia market is dominated by countries like China, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ecuador, Myanmar, Malaysia, and many more.
We will look at angles that will make us know all about tilapia from its history, classifications, environment, diet, and benefits.
What is Tilapia?
Tilapia is a cultured fish, or a wild fish, that has a white tasty flesh that can grow fast with low feed requirements. It can grow to a marketable size of 250 to 450 grams within a span of 8 months and can eat algae or any plant-based food. It can grow in environments with freshwaters like streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. They carry their fertilized eggs and young fish inside their mouth making them as mouth breeding species and are very adaptable which can survive even if the quality of the water is not good and overcrowded. There are three types of tilapia and these are:
- Nile Tilapia: a kind of tilapia that lives in shallow water, they can live up to ten years and longer and reach a five kilogram weigh at above. They eat phytoplankton, aquatic plants, small invertebrates, bacterial films and a lot more.
- Blue Tilapia: a freshwater fish that can weigh to three kilograms which eats zooplankton and young invertebrates.
- Mozambique Tilapia: this tilapia typically lives in rivers and lagoons they can reach thirty-five centimeters in length and up to one kilogram in weight. This fish can live up to eleven years.
What can you get from Tilapia?
Tilapia is one of the best food choices because of its low mercury and contaminant content, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for protecting the public health by advancing, ensuring, and regulating the safety of food supply in the country. It also good combinations of vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium, and potassium. Although, there are remarks that tilapia’s fat is causing some inflammation because of the low omega-3 fatty acids it contains and higher omega-6 fatty acid which is less healthy than the omega-3 as it increases inflammation if the fish is excessively eaten.
Production of Tilapia
Tilapias are produced through the process of aquaculture and for years this has been developed as the best farming method for tilapias, especially in developing countries that have a low technical level. This a form of farming is the method used that breeds, raise, and harvest fish.
There are three main events in the tilapia’s production process and these are:
- Hatching: This is the method for the caring for breeding colonies, spawning, egg extraction, tilapia fry care, and raising the fry to fingerling size by grading these fingerlings about their rate of growth before transporting them to a grow out facility.
- Rearing: This is the grow out stage raising them from fingerling size which includes testing, sorting, and weighing. The goal is to raise the tilapia quickly and in good health.
- Harvesting: this is the process that identifies, moves, execute, and remove fillets of the tilapias. Many of the farmers skip this process and pass this to the consumers who buy these tilapias in the wet market.
Here are the three methods for raising tilapia:
- Small Local Pond Culture – In this type of setup, all age and sometimes gender are mixed. Quantity is the main factor while quality lags behind. Usually done in tropical developing countries.
- Commercial Small Scale Operation – In this system, the commercial size of fish is at two hundred fifty grams, which are aimed to land at local wet markets and some target to export. Fingerlings are regularly put into these facilities for continuous production.
- Industrial Aquaculture Facility – Tilapias that are produced here are usually being exported in the international market. They are fed with energy-rich feeds as to achieve and maintain international standards for tilapia production in reaching a certain size before trading.
The Finished Product
What is good about tilapia is its adaptability, it absorbs the flavor from the water it is raised, that’s why the source of supply is very important. The tilapia meat is colored white with a firm, flaky texture and mild flavor, there is a reddish tint to the meat if the tilapia is red skinned. If you want to make your tilapia last longer, the shelf life for fresh tilapia is at zero degrees Celsius that will last for two weeks. While the shelf life for the frozen products is at six months. The most common ways tilapia are traded are through live sell, fresh whole (gutted), whole frozen (gutted), fresh and frozen fillets (skin-on or skinless).
What you can do with your Tilapia?
Tilapia is one delicious fish food that can be broiled, fried, grilled, baked, poached, sauteed, and steamed. Tilapia can produce a brown crisp skin that can be attractively displayed in menus. This is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as it is a good source of protein that is good for the health and choosing tilapia from a credible source can reduce the risk to your health and your family’s health. An inexpensive fish that can make you a tasty and nutritious dish, hence, eating tilapia will give you added nutrition at an affordable price.