According to the North Dakota State University Extension Service, tilapia is poised to make a substantial contribution to aquaculture. It is hardier and more prolific than other species. Tilapia produces a fine-tasting white, flakey meat. Initial consumer taste panels have indicated that tilapia is a delicious fish. The main impediment to an increase in tilapia consumption is the lack of familiarity of tilapia to the American consumer.
Tilapia is a hardy, prolific, fast-growing tropical fish native to Israel, where it has been farmed for about 2,500 years. It requires water temperatures from 76 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Currently, tilapia are produced in outdoor ponds and indoor systems. They are prolific breeders and were considered a national pest in Indonesia until the citizens began using them as a food source. Tilapia production in outside ponds is strictly regulated in the southern United States for fear that some fish may escape from the farm ponds and encroach on native sport fishing populations. A solution might be to use only ‘super males‘.
The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture have released (as a free download) the Hawaii Aquaculture Module Expert System (HAMES) for distribution to farmers. The tilapia expert system is a computer software package that offers assistance with diagnosing and treating tilapia diseases and syndromes.