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Mtera tilapia considered for breeding program

June 11, 2014  By Tom Walker

News from Tanzania’s Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) is that the newly discovered Mtera tilapia is a suitable candidate for inclusion in an aquaculture breeding program.

Dr Benjamin Ngatunga, a senior researcher scientist at TAFIRI made the statement adding that the institute has spoken with a number of organizations about funding, including the World Fish Centre. Once the funding has been confirmed the location of breeding program will be decided.

         It was earlier this year that the tilapia was discovered and tagged as the Mtera, a type of tilapia which can exist in both fresh and marine water.

         Ngatunga said that for the past three years the Royal Society Africa Award program and two United Kingdom universities – the Universities of Bangor and Bristol – have been gathering data from freshwater lakes in the region, and one of the results was the discovery of the previously unknown Mtera tilapia.

         He also noted that Tanzania is particularly fortunate in being the only country in Africa to border all of that continent’s three Great Lakes – Tanganyika, Nyasa and Victoria. It’s also unique in having over 1,000 fish species, including 26 of the 50 different kinds of tilapia.

         If things progress as the researchers hope and funding falls into place, the Mtera tilapia could give its cousin the Nile tilapia, a run for its money.

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