Mapping for Conservation of Native Tilapia Resources in East Africa

Unique tilapia...

image of tilapia in environment

East Africa is the major hotspot for diversity of native Oreochromis, the genus that dominates the $5b+ global tilapia farming industry.  These unique populations may contain genes for disease resistance, environmental tolerances valuable for improvement of farmed tilapia strains.  However, they are threatened by invasive strains stocked from fish farms which often outcompete native tilapia strains or genetically swap them through hybridization. 

Invasive species...

Recent surveys have indicated that non-native tilapia species are now present in many water bodies. Introduced non-native species can threaten native species through competition, hybridisation, or passing on disease, but assessing or ameliorating the threat has been hampered by correctly identifying the species.

TilapiaMap app...

image of app in use in the field

Therefore, it is the aim of this project to identify remaining populations of native tilapias in Kenya and Tanzania, map distribution of introduced and invasive species.  This will be done using TilapiaMap, a cost effective smartphone app developed by Geosho for Bangor University and the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute). We are currently working with a team of fisheries researchers and officers to record photographs of tilapia across Tanzania and Kenya. We are always looking for additional volunteers to submit data for the project – we can provide training in species identification and help with species verification if you are interested in determining tilapia species in your local area or for conservation or fisheries purposes. If you would like more information, or access to the app, please contact us at tilapiamap@bangor.ac.uk.

TilapiaMap on Facebook...

There is also a project Facebook page, which provides a forum to discuss tilapia management, invasive species biology, as well as provide help with species identification. Please join the Facebook page to join in the discussion, and updates on the project.

Training...

Image of discussion over app

Throughout the project, we will be running a series of workshops and training sessions on tilapia biology, management, and the use of the TilapiaMap app. Please contact us at tilapiamap@bangor.ac.uk if you would like more information about training sessions.

Open access data...

Data collected from the project (photographs and records of tilapia specie distributions) will be made available in open access global repositories (GBIF). We hope that the availability of detailed distribution records will assist with research-informed policy decisions, and be of use to fisheries and aquaculture stakeholders across East Africa. Please contact us at tilapiampa@bangor.ac.uk if you have any queries on accessing or submitting data.

Our funders ...

This project is funded by JRS Biodiversity Foundation.  The mission of the foundation is to enhance knowledge and promote the understanding of biological diversity for the benefit and sustainability of life on earth.  More information about the organisation may be found here.