Just Say NO To Farm-raised Tilapia, The Mac-Fish of Seafood

By on May 2, 2011

We all know we are what we eat, and we also know that the latest iteration of health news tells us to eat fish twice a week for health.

And if you’ve been reading EENews for long,  you also know we recommend eating wild-caught fish to avoid being part of the food-chain that includes GMO corn, and soy, as the main part of that icky fish food.

But now,  we get scientific substantiation from  The National Fisheries Institute, which proves that tilapia,  a hardy native of African lakes and streams, which has been bred in captivity world wide for the past ten years, has the least amount of the heart-healthy benefits of eating fish.  Long touted as the answer to hunger around the world,  it turns out this may be the Mac-fish of the seafood world,  with little nutritional benefit.

With lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than most other fish including farmed salmon and trout,  the poor tilapia comes off as a kind of frankenfish with few redeeming features.  While the poor tilapia yields 135 mg. omega-3 fatty acids per 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) serving, a wild salmon yields more than 2,000 mg. 

In the middle are wild-caught crab, flatfish (flukes and flounder), pollock, oysters, mussels, tuna, anchovies, trout, sardines and mackerel.  So,  if you’re eating fish because it’s healthy for you,  choose from these wild-caught fishes and seafood.  You’ll be better for it,  and you’ll note they taste better too. 

Because You Are What You Eat and a poor caged tilapia restricted to a diet of gmo corn soy pellets, has almost no flavor at all.  Just say NO. 

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”


  1. Robert

    January 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Well i say YES not because i find your facts at fault but because thats just not the whole picture. Not all farmers use corn and soy filler pellets honestly you dont have to. You can feed your fish a diet of duck weed grows all on its own with a diet of bugs by placeing open bottom bug zappers over the tank mind you this is done with care lest we have an accdent. There are cheap effective feeds you can use that are made from wroms ect. As far as the tank size that litterly does not matter as much with a schooling fish as long as you keep high oxygen levles and good water flow it dont affect the fishes health matter of fact many tank growers find they have to use population control not because the size of the tank but because the popluation has a reduced mortalty rate and great growth conditions. Dont belive i say try it yourself its cheap effective and you can throw a lets prove me wrong BBQ but i bet if you do it right and know your stuff you will be surprized and how good it really taste.

    • Linda Eckhardt

      January 19, 2012 at 9:57 am

      thanks for the information. always willing to consider new ideas and yours looks valid. what kind of fish do you farm? how many and where?

  2. Robert

    February 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Arizona and I raise Blue Fin Tilapia in a 1077 Gallon above ground pond. In that space I can have up to 400 fish. I have one mated pair in a 60 gallon tank and a few fry tanks to help them mature till there large enouf for the pond. There diet consist mostly of duck weed, alge, alfalpha, and various incects grasshoppers are largely abundant in my area. Because im useing the fish waste for aquaponics some of what I grow I feed to the fish as well. I do use a small amount of fish food but im careful and read lables you dont want things like wheat glutian or corn as fillers its just not apart of the fishes natural diet. You can however give them some soy so if its a soy filler im ok with it. Soy is not exactly part of the fishes everyday diet but that plant does grow in there natural habbitat at lest altho the reson i dont mind soy is because it has decent nutritinal value to both the fish and to thos eating the fish. When you feed your fish you do want to relize that what you feed them is what your feeding you. You just have to make sure that the fish food your useing is organic and is mostly what that fishes normal diet is. Thats one of the resons I raise tilapia there omniverious they have high growth and spawn rates resistant to parisites and desise more tolerant of water temp and ph maybe not the highest in omega but that dont make it unhealty to eat just means that you dont want it to be the only fish you ever eat.
    To be honest the taste of my fish is pretty good they have a light clean taste so you can cook them in nearly any dish.

    • Linda Eckhardt

      February 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Bravo, Robert for being such a responsible fish farmer. I would recommend your tilapia to anyone. Where can customers find it?

      • Robert

        February 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        Well see I tend to be rather sold out tilapia takes only 8 to 12 months to become what they call plate size but I tend to keep them till there about 5 lbs that can take up to 18 months depending on temp ect. So not only due to there large size and taste but also the fact that tilapia in the stores here sell for 6$ a lb and I sell them for 5$ a pound I dont have a lack of consumers at the local farmers market ^_^
        Belive it or not the fish are just the top part of the ice burg because im useing aquaponics and filtering the water thru 3 quarter inch gravel beds with plants growing in them I grow a decent crop at the moment im growing chives, peppers, herbs like basil dill ect, Water cress, Strawberries, And im not even done seeding and planting yet! You would be amased at how fast stuff grows in thos grow beds were talking things like corn and cabbage grow to harvest in 5 weeks.