Tilapia is the world’s second most important farmed fish. Spanning nearly three decades, pioneering selective fish breeding and genetic improvement programs in WorldFish that began in 1988 led to the development of improved tilapia strains, which have been widely disseminated to small holders across the world. WorldFish and partners have played a central role in producing improved strains of Oreochromis niloticus in Asia (GIFT strain), Egypt (Abbassa strain), Ghana (Akosombo strain) and Malawi (Oreochromis shiranus strain). Global production of tilapia now stands close to 7.0 million tonnes valued at over USD 9.8B. It is estimated that GIFT and GIFT derived improved strains contribute to approximately 50% of the global tilapia production.

Tilapia is farmed under diverse farming conditions and farming systems in WorldFish focal and scaling countries. WorldFish and partners in focal and scaling countries (represent different stages along the continuum from development and dissemination of improved tilapia strains) have worked together during the past three decades in the area of fish breeding, genetic improvement and development of aquaculture farming systems and accumulated wealth of knowledge, expertise, experience and resources. Given the long-term efforts that have been invested in producing genetically improved strains of Tilapia, WorldFish has set an approach for developing a package of better management practices (BMPs) for dissemination and farming of genetically improved Tilapia globally.

Towards this end, the first Tilapia BMP workshop was held in WorldFish Abbassa, Egypt in Jan 2019. The workshop convened key people from focal and scaling countries involved in breeding, dissemination and farming of tilapia and agreed on a process for achieving one organization (WorldFish)/one program (FISH) approach through one well-coordinated team to coordinate and facilitate the process of developing tilapia BMP products at global and country levels. The first workshop defined the scope, boundaries and content for the global tilapia BMP guideline document #V1 based on current practice, our R&D innovation and knowledge (including cross-cutting themes such as gender, youth and climate) and learning.

Between the first workshop in Jan 2019 and now, the expert consultant hired under the Zambia Norad project worked with WorldFish BMP team members and produced the first draft of Tilapia BMP guidelines V1.

The second tilapia BMP workshop is planned at WorldFish Headquarters on 22 May 2019. The purpose of the second workshop is to critically review V1 of tilapia BMP guidelines and finalize the same for publication as a FISH output under the SA Flagship of FISH CRP. In addition, the workshop will provide recommendations, on approaches for developing country-specific BMP resources (operational manuals, fact sheets, posters, SOPs, training manuals) and different training tools including digital and animation.