Tilapia is a common name for almost one hundred species of fish that originated in the Nile River in northern Africa. In the wild, tilapia inhabit warm water ponds, streams and lakes all over the globe.
Because it cannot survive in water temperatures lower than 600F, it thrives best in tropical climates. Tilapia aquaculture is increasing rapidly in the United States; it is now the fifth most popular seafood consumed in this country.
Because tilapia is high in protein, low in total and saturated fats and has a mild flavor, it has become the second-most farmed fish in the world, with carp first. The quality of aquaculture water and feed is critical to raising premium tilapia for commercial markets. Because of its rapid growth to market weight, tilapia is a good source of reasonably-priced fish protein.
North Carolina State University began operating the Fish Barn project in 1989, a facility for evaluating and developing water-reuse technology for the production of tilapia and other commercially-farmed fish.
For interested persons, tours of the facility are offered. For more information, contact Dennis Delong at the NC State Fish Barn.
Contributed by Barry Nash