North and South America
Total tilapia production in the Americas was approximately 204,267 t in 1998 (Table 1). In 1995, the proportions by volume of the main cultured spe- cies were: Oreochromis spp., 43%; O. niloticus, 37%, and O. aureus, 20% (FAO 1997). Tilapia pro- duction increased 13%/y from 1984–1995. Produc- tion of O. niloticus and red tilapia have experienced the highest growth rates throughout the Americas due to high prices in markets and the high demand for large fillets. Mexico, Brazil and Cuba are the 3 largest producers (Figure 1). Some important ex- amples of intensive culture are those in Jamaica (4,200 t in 1998) and Costa Rica (6,072 t in 1998). Mexico is the biggest consumer of tilapia at 94,000 t. The US is the second biggest consumer with total demand of 51,200 t in 1998. Imports of tilapia have increased rapidly since 1992 (Figure 2). Tilapia im- ports in 1998 were 27,820 t, which represented a live weight equivalent (LWE) of 43,000 t (Table 2) and domestic production was approximately 8,200 t. The majority of tilapia fillet products exported to the US originated in Central America and the Car- ibbean. In 1998, import values of fillets were $29 million compared to $23.7 million for whole frozen tilapia (Figure 3).
Table 1. Major producers of tilapia in the Americas. 1Higher than reported by Fonticella and Sonesten, This vol.
Tilapia Production (t)
Northern Argentina is a subtropical area that supports tilapia production, centered in the province of Formosa. Production was estimated to be 10 t in 1996-1997 (Luchini 1998; Wicki and Gromenida 1997). The primary species farmed is O. niloticus. The primary market for tilapia is the city of Clorinda, where it is sold either as whole fish or as fillets. In 1997, whole fish sold for US$1.50/kg and fillets for $6.00/kg.
creased from 147 t (LWE) in 1996 to 111 t in 1997, and were 0 t in 1998. It is not clear whether the de- crease represents tilapia that are now being con- sumed domestically within Belize, or if farms have reduced production.
Belize has excellent water resources and a steady level of interest from outside investors . Pro- duction should increase moderately with much of the increase exported to the US.
# of Farms
Domestic demand and production will increase slowly. No significant exports are anticipated.
Belize has had several farms producing tilapia since the early 1990s. Imports to the US have de-
Brazil has one of the fastest growing tilapia in- dustries in the Americas. Most of Brazil has envi- ronmental conditions conducive to tilapia culture combined with vast water resources. Tilapia were introduced to Brazil in the 1950’s and were distrib- uted widely. Demand for tilapia was slow develop- ing, probably because of the plentiful supplies of native freshwater and marine fishes. The greatest current market for tilapia in Brazil is for stocking of fee-fishing operations in the populous regions of the southeast. This appears to be the first large scale