Figure 3. Declared value of US tilapia imports.
F ille t F re s h F ille t F ro z e n W h o le F r o z e n
Imports $(x 1000)
1992 las t 6 m o o n ly
1995 Ye a r
Most commercial production comes from inten- sive or semi-intensive ponds. New farms are being built; existing farms are increasing production.
est tilapia farm in the Americas. AquaCorporacion Internacional, S. A. (ACI), the farm management company, is increasing production which was 450 t/ mo in 1998.
Costa Rica # of Farms
O. niloticus, O. aureus, Red Strains 6 major, numerous small
Production (t) Consumption (t) New investment
6,072 1,000 Yes
# of Farms
Red Strains, O. niloticus
Domestic markets may be nearly saturated and exports to the US are likely to return to earlier lev- els. Value addition from breading of fillets or other packaging is likely. Additional production is still being constructed and several farms will increase yield from existing facilities.
Both domestic and US markets for tilapia are growing. ACI is expanding and several new farms are in operation or in the planning stages. In addi- tion to intensive pond operations, semi-intensive farms will make contributions. Technologies may not be developed in Costa Rica, but its farms are likely to be among the first to apply new techniques on a large scale. The same can be predicted for process- ing.
O. mossambicus and then O. aureus were intro- duced to Costa Rica in the 1960s (Pullin et al. 1997). Small scale rural production was practiced for sev- eral years. One of the earliest attempts to introduce tilapia into international trade was a canned tilapia product developed in Costa Rica. “Lomas de Tila- pia” were on the market in the early 1980s. In 1979, O. niloticus were introduced to Costa Rica. Taiwan- ese technology for intensive culture of tilapia in flow-through ponds was developed. A farm in Cañas is based on this technique and is now the single larg-
O. niloticus, O. aureus, and O. mossambicus were introduced in the late 1960s. They were stocked into several reservoirs around the country. Fish mi- grated up and downstream from these reservoirs and now can be found from headwaters to coastal la- goons. O. aureus is the primary tilapia captured in reservoir fisheries, produced in hatcheries, and