GenoMar achieves a breakthrough for tilapia breeding

Being a 100% foreign-invested company located in Vietnam and a subsidiary of GenoMar Genetics As of Norway, GenoMar Genetics Vietnam has achieved breakthroughs in breeding with an aim to provide Vietnamese tilapia farmers with high quality fish fries and opened up more opportunities to develop in such potential sector.

Billion-dollar sector

Zubaida U. Basiao in Biology Institute, Science Department of the University of Philippines Diliman in Quezon city of the Philippines said that tilapia is the second most important group of fish in aquaculture after carps. The global output of tilapia increased rapidly from 2.66 million tons in 2010 to 3.34 million tons in 2012 and nearly 6 million tons in 2020. The global market of tilapia is valued at USD 900 million with 7 million tons and estimated to jump to USD 9.2 billion in 2027. China is the tilapia powerhouse. Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand are in the top ten producers.

In Zubaida’s opinion, the tilapia sector has a potential of sustainable growth with a promising global market to meet the demand for food amidst the rising population in the world. Vietnam has a great potential to boost the development of this fish. However, the quality of tilapia breed is now the most important matter.

Tilapia is a source of nutrition with little calories and high protein, omega fatty acid. Omega-3 in tilapia is even higher than beef, pork, and other terrestrial meat animals. Tilapia provides a large amount of nutrition: vitamin B12, C, E, and calcium, magnesi, kalium, phosphor, seleni, niacin, and folate. Tilapia has a low amount of mercury and is easily processed with delicate flavor.

Tilapia has been commercially produced all over the world. Besides the traditional markets, Asia and Africa, tilapia has penetrated America and Europe. Traditional white fish and wild-caught fish have been replaced with farmed tilapia.

Role of quality breeds

The quality of fish fries depends on two important factors: quality of parent stocks and reproduction technique; and farming technology and transportation of fish fries. The quality of parent stocks is really important. Most of the breeding facilities have not made proper investment due to profit, unfair competition and fluctuating prices, resulting in poor quality of fries. So parent stocks must be carefully taken care of so as to produce high quality seafood products.

Cumulative mortality in a laboratory challenge test of tilapia fingerlings selected for streptococcosis resist- ance compared to non-selected tilapia. Two different routes of infections with S. agalectiae were performed. Level of protection is calculated as relative percent survival (RPS).

Realizing the potential and strength of the tilapia sector, lots of globally leading businesses picked Vietnam as the land for research and development. GenoMar Genetics Group was the pioneer. GenoMar Genetics is an international aquaculture breeding and distribution company focusing on the global tilapia market. From breeding centers in Norway, Latin America, and Asia, the Group has managed renovation programs and technology for some trademarks in the breeding sector such as GenoMar, Aquabel and AquaAmerica.

Relative increase in weight for the recent twelve generations of GenoMar tilapia breeding populations. The 17th generation is used as the base line for calculating the increased weight per generation succeeding. Growth has been weighted around 40-50% and other characteristics account for about 50 – 60% remaining when selecting for the next generation

Alejandro Tola Alvarez, CEO of GenoMar Genetics shared: “Vietnam is the first country in Asia that we invest into. We hope that this will be a start for the expansion of the company’s scale in the region in the next few years. We have been considering Vietnam for a long time and realized an opportunity to become a credible provider of high quality breeds with favorable genes. After achieving success in Latin America, we were ready for the Asian market”.

Increase of fillet yield the recent eleven genera- tions of GenoMar tilapia breeding populations. The 17th generation is used as the base line for calculating the increased weight per generation succeeding. Fillet yield has been weighted around 20-50% and other characteristics account for about 50 – 80% remaining when selecting for the next generation

Of all technologies, selective breeding and genetics are significant factors to improve tilapia’s performance. Some existing tilapia breeds exceed the performance of their original wild ancestors. Genomar Genetics Group has constantly invested, renovated and managed selective breeding programs and disseminated genetic advances to farmers.

Market share expansion

Today, GenoMar Genetics Group fully invests into and builds an all-male tilapia breeding facility with generation 31 being introduced to Vietnam for nearly two years. The two products, GEnoMar GAIN and GenoMar STRONG, have boosted the tilapia sector and helped Vietnamese farmers earn high profit and stop imported poor quality tilapia fries from Thailand or China. With remarkable quality, all-male tilapia breeds provided by GenoMar Gentics Vietnam have been trusted and selected by farmers in key aquatic farming areas in Vietnam.

However, tilapia is mainly cultured in northern provinces while farmers in the South prefer red tilapia, a ratio up to 85-90%. According to Genomar, the genes of red tilapia have been changed a lot and qualified breeds are not available, making farmers spend much money but earn little profit. With the FCR 1,8-2,2, red tilapia weigh up to 750-800 grams each after 6-8 months; meanwhile tilapia have the FCR range between 1,3-1,5 and weigh up to 850-1.100 grams each after 5-6 months.

Thus, some customers of Genomar from the South are shifting to farm tilapia with good results and high profit. Some seafood processing factories, which failed in cultivating tilapia for exports once due to poorly qualified breeds, are coming back with this breed as they use the all-male tilapia breed by GenoMar Genetics.

With qualified fries, low production cost, shortened farming duration, and high profit, farmers will all shift to cultivate tilapia.


GenoMar is the first producer of tilapia breeds in the world that is granted SPF certificate by BFAR of the Philippines. GenoMar’s facility of parent stocks and selective breed production is located in the University in Central Luzon of the Philippines. Here, the company has been performing the selective breeding program since 1999 and has just been granted the SPF certificate. Tilapia breeds are selected by genes and cultivated at the facility for breeding and distribution to tilapia farming facilities in Asia and Latin America.


On November 10, 2022, GenoMar opened the most modern tilapia breeding and genetics center in Brazil. Leading tilapia geneticists and scientists will apply advanced technology in selective breeding so as to enhance favorable traits in growth rate, FCR, health, and adaptation to the global environment and fillet output. Also, the quality of GenoMar labeled products will be improved. Alejandro Tola Alvarez, CEO at GenoMar Genetics Group said: “The breeding center will strictly follow the high-level biosecurity, good fish health and multiplication of high quality tilapia parent stocks”.


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