Fishermen in Queensland, Australia suspect a human hand is helping invasive fish to spread throughout the state’s rivers and dams. African tilapia fish have spread considerably further than predicted by biologists and fishery authorities and local fishermen now worry that the approaching wet season will end efforts to control the tilapia invasion in already infected waters. Continue reading
Research published in the online open access journal BMC Public Health show that Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) can be a valuable aid in the fight against mosquitoes; the animal responsible for transmitting malaria to humans. Today, malaria can be fairly easily treated and even cured, but a millions of people living in developing countries do not have access to malaria medication. Continue reading
Two students at New York’s Trinity school made a surprising discovery when they used a new genetic barcoding method to test fish sold in fish stores and served in restaurants on Upper Manhattan. Out of 60 different samples, 14 turned out to be mislabeled. Continue reading
In response to a recent report from Wake Forest University about high levels of Omega-6 in tilapia, an international coalition of 16 doctors* spoke out today, lead by Dr. William Harris of the Sanford School of Medicine. According to the coalition, tilapia is a part of a healthy diet since it is low in total and saturated fat and high in protein and “replacing tilapia or catfish with ‘bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts’ is absolutely not recommended”. Continue reading
According to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine*, farm-raised tilapia contains very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
In an article published in the July edition of Journal of the American Dietetic Association**, the Wake Forest researchers say that combination of low amounts of omega-3 and high amounts of omega-6 could make the fish a potentially dangerous food source for some patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases that are particularly vulnerable to an “exaggerated inflammatory response.” Continue reading
Tilapia has been farmed in ponds for thousands of years, and the Ancient Egyptians are for instance known to have raised Nile tilapia in ponds along the river Nile. During the 1950s an important step in the history of farmed tilapia was taken when Tel Aviv University zoologist Prof. Lev Fishelson developed a hybrid of tilapia that could withstand both high salinity levels and high temperature – a fish ideal for growing in desert ponds near the ocean. Israel comprises vast areas of land where the conditions are too arid for traditional crop growth and the available underground water is too salty for many animals and plants. Fishelson’s hybrid tilapia was therefore welcomed with open arms by Prof. Fishelson’s fellow countrymen.
When fish is farmed in countries where water is a scarcity, the water is usually meticulously managed. Instead of releasing the water at each harvest, a practise common among fish farmers living in more humid parts of the world and one which can easily lead to overt-fertilization of nearby water ways, the water is saved and used to grow algae. They algae will grow quickly by feeding off the organic waste products left by the fish and can soon be harvested as food for cattle and poultry or be sold for use in industrial products like dye and medicine. But this is not enough; once the algae are gone the water can be used to irrigate salt-tolerant crops like tomatoes to yield a third harvest.
In addition to being remarkably tolerant to salt and heat, Fishelson’s hybrid tilapia exhibits a strangely skewed sex-ratio. When certain species of tilapia are crossed, the resulting offspring will be virtually all male and Fishelson’s hybrid tilapia. Any females in the batch are normally the result of foreign genetic material in the parent fish, caused by earlier hybridization. Tilapia readily hybridizes with closely related species even in the wild.
In Fishelson’s hybrid tilapia, roughly 95% of the offspring is male which has made it an appreciated choice for fish farmers since fish that do not spend any energy on reproducing reaches a marketable size faster. Male tilapias are also known to grow faster and bigger than females.
From July to September 2008, 52 restaurants in Florida, United States where cited for allegedly misrepresenting what they serve to the public.
Embarrassingly enough, one of them was the Miami Police Cafeteria who was fined $750 when an inspector from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation noticed that the cafeteria was serving the cops Basa fish claiming it was Grouper. Continue reading