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Date Published: January 2004
Author/s: Abdel-Fattah M. El-Sayed
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Affiliation: Oceanography Department, Faculty of Science
University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt


Tilapia are the third most important cultured fish group in the world, after carps and
Salmonids. Tilapia culture is also one of the fastest growing farming activities, with an average
annual growth rate of 13.4% during 1970–2002. They are widely cultured in about 100 countries
in the tropical and subtropical regions. As a result, the production of farmed tilapia has increased
from 383,654 mt in 1990 to 1,505,804 mt in 2002, representing about 6% of total farmed finfish
in 2002. Feeding represents over 50% of the operational costs of aquaculture. Fish meal has
been widely used as a main conventional protein source in aquafeeds. However, the dependence
on fish meal is expected to decline due to the shortage in world production of fish meal, and
increased demand for fish meal in feeds for livestock and poultry industries. Therefore, partial or
total replacement of fish meal with less expensive, locally available protein sources will become
inevitable. Many attempts have been conducted alongside this line. The present review throws
the light on alternative dietary protein sources for farmed tilapia, with emphasis on the most cost
effective, commonly used sources, such as fishery by-products, terrestrial animal by-products,
oilseed plants, aquatic plants, single cell proteins, grain legumes, plant protein concentrates and
cereal by-products