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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3697-3721; doi:10.3390/su6063697

Genetically-Improved Tilapia Strains in Africa: Potential Benefits and Negative Impacts

1
Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 100 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 208 Hutcheson Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 December 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 30 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Abstract

Two genetically improved tilapia strains (GIFT and Akosombo) have been created with Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia), which is native to Africa. In particular, GIFT has been shown to be significantly superior to local African tilapia strains in terms of growth rate. While development economists see the potential for food security and poverty reduction in Africa from culture of these new strains of tilapia, conservationists are wary of potential ecological and genetic impacts on receiving ecosystems and native stocks of tilapia. This study reviews the history of the GIFT technology, and identifies potential environmental and genetic risks of improved and farmed strains and tilapia in general. We also estimate the potential economic gains from the introduction of genetically improved strains in Africa, using Ghana as a case country. Employing a combination of the Economic-Surplus model and Monte Carlo simulation, we found the mean net present value (NPV) of the introduction of the GIFT strain in Ghana to be approximately 1% of the country’s gross domestic product. Sensitivity analysis indicated that the difference in growth or yield between the GIFT and locally-available strains has the largest effect on mean NPV. We conclude that improvements in management practices and infrastructure could increase the yield and profitability of the local strains even if genetically-improved strains are not introduced. These improvements also will ensure the realization of the full potential of introduced strains. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable aquaculture; native species; genetic improvement; Monte Carlo simulation; economic surplus; risk analysis; Ghana sustainable aquaculture; native species; genetic improvement; Monte Carlo simulation; economic surplus; risk analysis; Ghana
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ansah, Y.B.; Frimpong, E.A.; Hallerman, E.M. Genetically-Improved Tilapia Strains in Africa: Potential Benefits and Negative Impacts. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3697-3721.

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