February 2, 2019
Tilapia undergoes genetic improvements in Philippines
Tilapia farming has come a long way in the Philippines since its introduction into the country from Mozambique in the 1950s. Today, the fish has become one of the richest, most widely available sources of protein in the Filipino diet, as per a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Tilapia is also now the country's third most-produced aquaculture commodity.
Moreover, the Philippines is now the fourth-biggest producer of tilapia in the world.
Through the years research and genetic improvements have been conducted on tilapia in the Philippines and to date, there are now 11 varieties of tilapia for breeding in the country, the Inquirer reported.
These include the genetically improved farmed tilapia, or GIFT; the genetically male tilapia, or YY tilapia; the genetically enhanced tilapia—excellent strain; and the brackish water-enhanced selected tilapia, or Improved-Best.
Filipino marine scientists have also developed the cold water-tolerant tilapia strain, as well as organic tilapia.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has likewise bred a saline-tolerant tilapia called "molobicus".
In the 1970s, another species, the Nile tilapia, was introduced to the country, boosting local commercial production of the fish.
Jodecel Danting, chief of the National Freshwater Fisheries Technology, said the genetic improvement of tilapia started in 1988, marking "a milestone year" for the industry.
The Philippines' total production of tilapia in 2007 was 241,182,75 tonnes, making it one of the top tilapia growers in the world.
By 2017 production was estimated at 311,000 tonnes, but this is still not enough to feed all Filipinos, according to the report.