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Tilapia (Tilapia spp.)

Tilapia
Tilapia

Scientific name for Tilapia

Tilapia spp.

Common name(s) for Tilapia

St. Peter’s fish, sunfish

Market name

Tilapia

Other language names for Tilapia

  • French: Tilapia
  • German: Nil-Buntbarsch
  • Italian: Tilapia
  • Japanese: Telapia
  • Spanish: Tilapia

Introduction to Tilapia

Tilapia, which originated in the Nile River, has been farmed for decades and is grown in warm waters around the globe. It is the second most farmed fish group on the planet, second only to carp. Tilapia are cultivated domestically in the southern and western states. Costa Rica and Colombia are significant fresh produce providers. Three of the most frequently farmed species in the United States include Tilapia nilotica, an emerald-green tilapia renowned for its high production and fast development; Tilapia aureus, a cold-resistant strain; and Tilapia mossambica, a reddish-skinned strain popular in live markets and display tanks. According to legend, tilapia was the fish that Jesus of Nazareth multiplied 1,000fold to feed the people. This earned the species the common name “St. Peter’s fish,” which the FDA prohibits from being sold. Whole tilapia often weigh between 1 and 2 pounds. Certain customers like fish that weigh more than two pounds.

Product Profile for Tilapia

The lean-meated tilapia has a somewhat firm, flaky texture and a mild, sweet flavor. The mild flavor of tilapia is often compared to that of catfish, another farm-raised success story. Raw meat is white to pinkish-white in color, and fillets may have a small layer of darker muscular tissue immediately beneath the skin. The cooked flesh is white and lean, and the flakes are delicate. When it comes to growing superior tilapia, water quality and nutrition are crucial. Poor quality produces an off-flavor or a muddy, grassy flavor comparable to wild-caught catfish.

Nutrition for Tilapia


Calories: 96
Fat Calories: 15
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 50 mg
Sodium: 52 mg
Protein: 20.1 g
Omega 3: 0.2 g

Cooking tips for Tilapia

Tilapia is a flexible fish, but whichever method you choose, use a light sauce to prevent overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish. The tilapia’s beautiful skin — gold, red, or black and white — should be highlighted but not eaten since it might be bitter.

Cooking methods for Tilapia

Bake , Broil , Saute , Steam

Primary Product Forms for Tilapia

Live

Fresh: Whole, H&G, Fillets (boneless, skin-on/skinless)

Frozen: Whole, H&G, Fillets (boneless, skin-on/skinless)

Value-added: Frozen (breaded fillets), Marinated or sauced portions

Global Supply for Tilapia

Africa, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Thailand, Iran