Fast-growing fish varieties to benefit farmers in Egypt and Ghana

New breeds of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) – an economically important fish that is native to much of Africa – which grow about 30% faster than the most common commercial strains will boost food security and farmers’ earnings in Egypt and Ghana.

The selective breeding programmes use natural selection, where young fish with the desired trait of rapid growth are bred together. This continues for many generations to produce fish that grow ever-more quickly. The technique is simple but it takes a long time. The method doesn’t use genetic engineering, gene transfer or growth hormones.
Aquaculture represents 72% of total fish production in Egypt, which is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia after China. The Abbassa strain of tilapia grows 28% faster than the most commonly-used commercial breed.  
In Ghana, the Akosombo strain was developed by national research body the Water Research Institute (WRI) in partnership with WorldFish. The eighth generation of the strain reaches maturity more than 30% faster than the unimproved strain.
At the current pace, tilapia production in Ghana is projected to increase tenfold by 2015. – SciDev.net