Seafood aficionados and amateurs alike appreciate the diversity of our seafood selections. From lobster and oysters to salmon and tuna, there’s no lack of love for the bounty that we deliver right to your door.
But one of our selections doesn’t always garner the enthusiasm of our other fresh favorites: Tilapia. Sentiments on this delicious freshwater fish can range from a mild-mannered “so-so” to a more opinionated “not a real fish.”
So why does tilapia, which is both tasty and good for you, tend to have a negative reputation? Is it warranted? Today we're going to explore some of the more popular opinions of tilapia – both good and bad – and answer some of our customer's frequently asked questions about one of seafood's most contentious fish.
Is Tilapia a Real Fish?
Where Does Tilapia Come From?
Is Tilapia Bad for You?
Is Tilapia Good for You?
How Does Tilapia Farming Effect the Environment?
Does Farmed Tilapia Taste Good?
What Tilapia Does FultonFishMarket.com Carry?
Yes, tilapia is a real fish – not a “franken-fish.” Stories of tilapia go back to the Roman Empire in 1500 B.C., with biblical scholars even hypothesizing that Jesus fed the masses on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with two tilapia and four loaves of bread!
Fast forward to the 21st century, tilapia is actually one of the most popular fish served in restaurants. Ranking behind tuna, salmon, and Alaskan pollock, it’s the fourth most commonly consumed type of seafood in the United States.
The most popular varieties of tilapia include Nile tilapia, blue tilapia, and Mozambique tilapia. While their flavor profiles are similar, the quality and taste are affected by their growing environment, feed type and water conditions.
Although tilapia hails from Africa, its surge in popularity has led to the development of commercial tilapia farms around the world. Over 135 countries, including the United States, produce farm-raised tilapia in indoor recirculating tanks, ponds, freshwater net pens, and raceways. China currently leads global tilapia production.
The quality of tilapia aquaculture systems can have impacts on both flavor and the nutritional profile. Tilapia quality and taste are affected by the feed type, which is typically corn and soy pellets. A high-quality, vegetable-based diet is imperative because it satisfies the population’s appetite, ensuring that the fish do not eat algae, mud, or effluence (aka fish poop).
Overcrowding results in the excess of effluence, which, if not managed property, is consumed by the fish population. This can lead to disease, which can lead to the irresponsible use of antibiotics and antimicrobials. This cycle ultimately leads to a poorer quality product which can promote antibiotic resistance. For our farmed tilapia, FultonFishMarket.com has partnered with Regal Springs, a trusted tilapia farmer that prides itself on ensuring their tilapia are raised responsibly with plenty of space and the best feeds.
Yes! Responsibly-sourced tilapia like ours is a delicious source of lean protein that is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates and high in vitamins and minerals like selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, and potassium.
While tilapia is lower in the omega-3 fatty acids that are characteristic of salmon and sardines, it is comparable to other popular fish selections like cod, mahi mahi, and yellowfin tuna.
One benefit of tilapia farming is that it supports the sustainability of the wild tilapia population. Responsible aquaculture of any species provides a cost-effective product that supports global demand for protein without depleting native stock.
The discharge of waste from tilapia farms can present issues to sustainability. Conscientious tilapia partners collect the effluent from aquaculture systems to use as fertilizer, whereas more reckless farms release the waste into the natural habitat which can cause illness to other species as well as tilapia. Escaped fish can also cause population challenges, as they are quick to procreate and could potentially choke out other native species.
Third party certifications recognize responsible, sustainable, and safe tilapia farming, including the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch also makes recommendations for wild and farmed tilapia selections based on their environmental impact. Our partner Regal Springs was the world’s first Tilapia producer to be certified to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Tilapia standard and also the world’s first tilapia producer to be certified to the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practice standard for Tilapia.
Tilapia’s sweet, mild taste and flaky texture makes it a great fit for recipes calling for white fish. The lean fillets absorb flavors easily, so we recommend using a light hand with spices and sauces. Tilapia is versatile across many cooking methods including pan frying, broiling, baking, or braising.
We are committed to safe, sustainable seafood here at FultonFishMarket.com. That’s why we have partnered with Regal Springs to bring healthy, delicious tilapia to your dinner table. Regal Springs tilapia are responsibly raised in spacious floating pens in Honduras. Shop for tender, firm tilapia fillets from FultonFishMarket.com.