Improving the Performance of Tilapia Farming under Climate Variation

Tilapia is the world’s most popular aquaculture species, farmed mostly in earthen ponds. Experience in China, the largest tilapia farming country, is used to develop and calibrate a bioeconomic model of intensive tilapia pond culture. The model is used to simulatethe impacts of climate, technical and/or economic factors on farming performance and examines the performance of various farming arrangements under different conditions.

Improving the performance of tilapia farming under climate variation (Source: FAO)

The simulation results indicate that: (i) an increase in feed price, an increase in mortality, or a decrease in fish price significantly reduces profitability, whereas an increase in the cost of seed, labour, rent, electricity or water management has smaller impacts on profitability; (ii) considering the impact of water temperature on fish growth, the profitability of a production cycle starting at the optimum timing may be twice as high as one starting at the worst possible time; (iii) farming arrangements that maximize the profit of individual fish crops may not maximize overall profitability because of path dependency of farming performance; (iv) optimal farming arrangements that maximize overall profitability can significantly improve economic performance; (v) given no price discrepancy against small-size fish, harvesting at about 300 g in two-year-five- crop arrangements could increase overall enterprise profitability by up to 50 percent compared with harvesting at > 500 g in one-year-two-crop arrangements; and (vi) a two-tier farming system that separates nursing and outgrowing ponds could allow one-year-three-crop arrangements that enhance profitability by up to nearly 90 percent compared with the one-year-two-crop arrangements. With more refined informationon fish growth under different farming conditions, the model could become a decision-making tool to help farmers design optimal farming arrangements.

Download the free FAO publication using the link below:

Cai, J.N., Leung, P.S., Luo, Y.J., Yuan, X.H. & Yuan, Y.M. 2018.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 608.
Rome, FAO.

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