Arkansas Tilapia Culture


A hardy tropical fish that is widely cultured around the world, tilapia can be raised in indoor systems or outdoors during the summer months in Arkansas (Figure 3) (see SRAC 02800283). Tilapia are particularly suited to culture in recirculating systems as they tolerate high stocking densities and poor water quality. High over-wintering costs and the fact that market-sized fish would be available for only a short time in the fall limit the potential for pond culture of this species. Production costs in indoor tank systems are relatively high. While there has been a growing market for tilapia fillets, foreign farms are able to produce, process and ship fish to the United States at a lower cost than can be achieved by domestic tilapia producers. Producers in the U.S. are limited primarily to supplying live tilapia to niche markets, such as ethnic grocery stores. Tilapia are an excellent fish for hobby or home food production and are widely used in high school aquaculture programs.

Growing Tilapia

Source: Aquaculture Alternatives in Arkansas

Permits and Regulations

To obtain a Fish Farming Permit and information on permissible aquaculture species in Arkansas, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at or at 800-364-4263.

For specific license information, see

Considering culturing fish in cages, a recirculating system or a raceway? Large facilities may need to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. For more information, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency web site on aquatic animal production industry effluent guidelines at and contact the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality at

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