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Scientific Name: Tilapia spp.
Common Name: St. Peter’s fish, sunfish
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Medium/Firm

Product Profile: The mild, sweet tasting, lean-meated tilapia has a slightly firm, flaky texture. Many compare the mild taste of tilapia to that of another farm-raised success story, catfish. Raw meat is white to pinkish-white and may have a thin layer of darker muscle tissue just below the skin side of fillets. The cooked meat is white and lean with tender flakes.Water quality and feed are critical to the raising of premium tilapia. Poor quality results in an off-flavor or a muddy, grassy taste similar to that of wild-run catfish.

Product Forms: Live Fresh: Whole, H&G, Fillets (boneless, skin-on/skinless) Frozen: Whole, H&G, Fillets (boneless, skin-on/skinless) Value-added: Frozen (breaded fillets), Marinated or sauced portion
Substitutions: Catfish, Flounder, Orange roughy
Global Supply: Africa, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Thailand

SKU: NE-FZ-TIL Category: Product ID: 1385


Tracing its origin to the Nile River, tilapia has been farm raised for decades and is cultivated in warm waters the world over. It is the second-most cultured group of fish in the world, exceeded only by carp. Domestically, tilapia are cultured in the southern and western states. Costa Rica and Colombia are major suppliers of fresh product. Three of the most common species cultivated in the United States are Tilapia nilotica, an emerald-green tilapia known for its high yield and rapid growth; T. aureus, a cold-resistant strain; and T. mossambica, noted for its reddish skin color, which makes it popular for the live market and display tanks. Legend has it that tilapia was the fish Jesus of Nazareth multiplied a thousandfold to feed the masses. This gave the species its frequently used name of “St. Peter’s fish,” a name the FDA does not allow to be marketed. Whole tilapia normally range from 1 to 2 pounds. Some buyers prefer fish larger than 2 pounds.

Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.
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