The Need of a Structured Tilapia Breeding Program in Tanzania to Enhance Aquaculture Production: A Review
Breeding programs are crucial for boosting productivity and increase sustainability of aquaculture. Over years, Tanzania has witnessed fluctuation in its capture fisheries production from 320,900 to 375, 535 and back to 362,595 metric tonnes in the years 2000, 2005 and 2016, respectively (URT 2016). The declining trend in fish production has made fish supply in the country unstable and conversely, increased the demand for fishes to about 730,000 metric tonnes in 2017. However, the local aquaculture production has not increased accordingly. Tanzania is importing fish mainly from Asia to meet its increased demand. In 2017, a total of 2,055,721 kg of frozen tilapia were imported from China and Mozambique (URT 2017). The introduction of exotic fish species in Tanzania should be carefully managed because introduced species have many negative impacts to the indigenous species. Tanzania should have a moderate scale tilapia breeding program that will produce good quality fingerlings at affordable price for smallholder fish farmers. The availability of reliable good quality fingerlings is key to improve aquaculture production in the country. Among 17 existing hatcheries, only 12 hatcheries are active, however these hatcheries are not performing well due to low investment and technology leading to the production of low quantity and quality fingerlings. The need for a structured sustainable Tilapia breeding program with bio secured and reliable hatcheries to enhance aquaculture production in Tanzania is given in this review.
Keywords: Aquaculture, Breeding programs, Nile tilapia, Local strains.