Native Species Aquaculture

Biodiversity & Aquaculture

The global aquaculture industry (which is a >250 billion USD sector!) is currently heavily reliant on only a handful of different fish species.
This poses significant risks for the planet’s ecosystems and communities relying on them. The dependence on only few species increases the likelihood of introducing invasive species, viruses and pathogens, thereby threatening biodiversity and potentially causing the extinction of species. It also puts entire food systems and local economies at risk due to the vulnerability of monocultures on disease outbreaks and epidemics.

This was recently experienced in Lake Volta (Ghana) where the main produced species in and around the lake is nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). In 2019, the introduction of a virus through imported nile tilapia broodstock led to mass extinctions in fish farms around the lake and overall production plummeted.

Native Species Aquaculture

Native Species Aquaculture is an innovative approach aimed at revolutionizing the aquaculture landscape by focusing on cultivating fish species that are native to the respective farming region.

Lake Tanganyika, renowned for its untouched ecosystem and diverse biodiversity boasting over 350 distinct fish species, holds immense potential for cultivating a variety of fish suitable for aquaculture.
By establishing a fish farming industry centered around endemic species, Tanganyika Blue actively contributes to conserving ecosystems and safeguarding biodiversity. This approach acts as a proactive measure against the introduction of invasive species, viruses and potential ecological disruptions, preventing ‘Darwin’s Nightmare number 2‘ or scenarios like the described situation at Lake Volta in Ghana.

Moreover, Native Species Aquaculture in Lake Tanganyika will open up new opportunities including distinct markets for native fish which can capitalize on Lake Tanganyika’s regional reputation for exceptionally high-quality fish that fetch a premium on the market. This will help to improve livelihoods in the communities around the lake through sustainable fish farming which will take pressure off the wild fish stocks and contribute to biodiversity protection.

Our Native Species Aquaculture Breeding Program

Together with our partners, Tanganyika Blue is planning to implement a genetic selective breeding program (GSBP) of a native fish species: the endemic Tanganyika tilapia (Oreochromis tanganicae).

The GSBP takes on added significance due to the critical juncture we find ourselves at. Driven by population pressure and limited fish supply, which has led to soaring fish prices, the need for alternative fish sources has become more urgent than ever. Fish farming is considered as a solution, but the absence of a dedicated domesticated native species hatchery has posed challenges. As people venture into fish farming, they often resort to acquiring fingerlings from any possible source without proper consideration due to lacking awareness. This inadvertently introduces the risk of invasive species or other unsustainable practices. With the implementation of our GSBP, we aim to fill this gap by providing a reliable source of native fish fingerlings for fish farms and upcoming hatcheries across the Lake Tanganyika region.

Why Tanganyika Tilapia?