Prize for Tilapia Project in Vietnam

Award recognises the important contribution tilapia project has made to the economic development of Vietnam
March 9, 2006

Prize for Tilapia Project in Vietnam


Families of tilapia are raised in “hapas” in freshwater dams.


A prize has been awarded to a selective breeding project in Vietnam. In this Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) -sponsored project, the tropical fresh water fish tilapia - an increasingly popular fish in farming - has been genetically improved and adapted to Vietnamese conditions. The prize recognises the important contribution this project has made to the economic development of Vietnam.


The Vietnamese Fund for Supporting Technological Innovation awards the prize, which is presented by the prime minister of Vietnam. This year a “Vietnamese National Prize for New Sciences and Technology” has been awarded to RIA I (Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 1), which has been responsible for the project in Vietnam in cooperation with Norway’s aquaculture research insstitute, Akvaforsk.


Increased production of tilapia

Many farmers are enjoying new livelihoods due to selective breeding efforts conducted by RIA I on tilapia in Vietnam, where the fish have been adapted to local conditions by selecting for growth.


In northern Vietnam the growing season for tilapia is short since winters can be cold for the tropical fish, and in the past the country has struggled to achieve a solid production rate. Since tilapia is now being bred for faster growth and tolerance to cold, it grows fast enough to result in attractive portion size fish in just one growing season. This has led to a considerable increase in production, from 15 000 tons in 2001 to over 40 000 tons in 2005. Vietnamese authorities now plan to increase production five-fold over the next five years.


The organisation behind the prize believes that this project has made a significant contribution to the Vietnamese economy, and notes that this breeding technology has the potential to promote further development of other farmed species in Vietnam.


The genetically improved tilapia in Vietnam comes from stock that was bred in the Philippines for five generations, from 1988 to 1997, in a selective breeding project known as GIFT (Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia).


Researchers from Akvaforsk assisted with breeding efforts to double the growth rate of the tilapia stock. A success in the Philippines, the new stock was exported to several different countries, including Vietnam. This is the third prize awarded for selective breeding of tilapia based on the genetically improved GIFT-tilapia.