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01-26-2014, 02:46 AM
Thomas T. George


    Prof. Tmhoas T. George President, Global Aquaculture Consultants (GAC) Toronto, Canada (www.tilapiamiracle.com) [email protected]
    Photo of Tilapia
    Environmental sustainability and food security is already very difficult to achieve with today’s 7.1 billion people. However, aquaculture (the farming of marine and fresh water fish and shellfish species) is one of the new technologies which supports growing human consumption of fish and other aquatic species. Also, it reduces human impact on the environment by relieving intense pressures on ocean ecosystems. For these reasons, The First International FAO/UNDP/Government of Japan Aquaculture Conference held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1976, urged all governments of the world to give high priority to aquaculture development in their national planning. Besides, it also urged the international financing agencies to recognize aquaculture as a priority sector for investment and provide adequate financial support for aquaculture in developing countries especially those in the Sub-Saharan region with great natural potentials. Consequently, the rapid global development of aquaculture in recent years has been linked to a “Blue Revolution” that matches the Green Revolution of higher grain yields from the 1950s onward. Aquaculture yields have increased from around two million metric tons in 1950 to almost 50 million metric tons today. Thus, China which imported live tilapia from Sudan in 1978, now accounts for around two thirds of total aquaculture production worldwide by weight and roughly half by market value followed by India, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Chile, Japan, Norway and the Philippines.
    Fish is a critical source of diet protein in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing an estimated 22% of protein intake. However, with marine fisheries over-exploited, African fish production is failing to keep up with rising populations and therefore, aquaculture is the hope. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Aquaculture started growing during the period 2000-2007, with Egypt as Africa’s major producer.
    African aquaculture has remained insignificant in global terms as total production was 1,288,320 tonnes in 2010, representing just 22% of global production but without Egypt’s contribution, the production of Sub-Saharan on its own, just 359,790 tonnes for 2010, production is only 0.6% of world production. Much of the aquaculture growth is taking place in countries like Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia with tilapia as the main species cultured.
    Tilapia (Bulti in Arabic) is both a genus and common name of nearly a hundred species of freshwater and some brackish water fishes. All tilapias have originated exclusively from the African Continent and Palestine (Jordan Valley and coastal rivers) and evolved in the River Nile. Tilapias are the world’s most important fresh/marine, warm-water cultured food fishes, farmed from extensive to super-intensive water re-circulating (more than 100 kg/m3) and integrated aquaponic systems due to their environmental hardiness, omnivorous diet, rapid growth, mode of reproduction, tolerance of high stocking density and are among the easiest and most profitable fish to farm.
    In recent years, African countries experienced a rapid increase in tilapia production mainly because several African Governments have established a Ministry for Fisheries and Aquaculture, have implemented legislations, policies and support programmes to encourage growth of aquaculture, have encouraged public hatcheries to provide millions of all-male tilapia and the local and international feed mills that supply feed to the growing aquaculture industry. Also, the FAO’s Special Programme for Aquaculture in Africa (Spada) and Nepal Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture, promoted aquaculture in several countries. However, although Sudan has the greatest potential in Africa for high commercial aquaculture production, Egypt is number two after China which produces nearly 50% of the global tilapia production. This is mainly because the #######-reversal hormone (17 alpha-methyl testosterone, MT) technique, developed in the 1970s by R.D. Guerrero, to control breeding of tilapia and produce 100 % phenotypic males for high commercial production, was immediately used in Egypt but it was not approved to be used in Sudan except two years ago although the research results ascertained this fact as early as 1968! Therefore, it is extremely important that all African countries know that commercial tilapia production requires the use of phenotypic male (monosex) populations for high commercial production and marketability.
    Tilapia fillets are now available in different sizes and packaging....skin-on, skin-off, deep-skinned, ozone-dipped, carbon monoxide-treated, individually quick frozen (IQF) , smoked sashimi grade and as izumi-dai. Although the responsible involved in tilapia commercial production in African countries might be aware of this rapid development in tilapia food markets yet, they are encouraged to care also for tilapia by-products, especially tilapia skins to make a variety of leather goods, clothing and accessories, snack food as appetizers by removing the scales, cut the skin into thin strips and deep-fried, and as a pharmaceutical product. Several European firms are purchasing frozen or salted skins which are processed for gelatin used in time-release medicine, substituting material from tilapia skins for mammalian products. The continuing concern over BSE and other prion related diseases is likely to increase the demand for this product. Another by-product is the trimmings and #########. ######### are used for soups in some countries. Fillet trimmings and throat meet can be recovered and used for ceviche and other preparations using small amounts of fish. Equipment also exist to facilitate the recovery of flesh through de-boning of skeletons. The flesh recovered provides a base for fish sticks, fish sausage, fish balls, fish sauce or other highly-processed forms. Carcasses, #########, and trimmings are also used for animal feeds. One of the most fascinating uses of tilapia by-products is the creation of “flower” ornaments made from dried and colored fish scales as reported by Kevin Fitzsimmons, University of Arizona, USA.


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TILAPIA AQUACULTURE IN AFRICA AND GLOBALLY. Prof. Thomas T. George Thomas T. George 01-26-14, 02:46 AM

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