Lent Fast Day: Seven facts about little fish that you’ve been angling for

6 March 2017

This Lent, you'll see Florence who transformed little fish like Bob into something amazing.

But you might want to know some facts about Bob and his fellow tilapia fish. Lent Fast Day falls on Friday 10 March this year and in preparation, here are some facts to help you on your journey.

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Little fish facts:

1. Tilapia fed the 5,000 on the shores of Galilee

Experts believe that the fish most likely to have fed the 5,000 on the shores of Galilee was the tilapia. It was one of the main fish caught in the lake and fits the profile of something that would have been eaten by ordinary people.

2. It’s also known as St Peter’s fish (as well as ‘Bob’)

‘St Peter’s fish’ comes from Matthew’s gospel and the story of Apostle Peter catching a fish with a coin in its mouth. Bob has never found a coin, but he would like fans to know that he was named after his father, Bob Sr – a champion swimmer.

3. The little fish was a big deal to the Ancient Egyptians

So precious was the little fish to the Ancient Egyptians, that it had its own hieroglyph.

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4. There are over 100 species of tilapia

The tilapia is a type or genus of fish, of which there are over 100 species and can be found on dinner plates and ponds across the world. The fish is said to have originated in Africa.

5. Tilapia are supporting the fight against malaria

In Kenya, tilapia have been introduced to abandoned fishponds where they ate mosquito larvae. Reports stated that it managed to reduce numbers of the main malarial mosquitoes by over 94 per cent.

Bob’s relatives: 1 – Mosquitoes: 0. 

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6. They’re homebodies

The fish is very easy to farm – preferring to remain with their fellows, eating pellets. Because of this, they gain weight quickly. In the wild, they like warmer, deep water lakes and stay together, so when farmed, the habitat is similar to their natural environment, so they experience very little stress.

7. Nana says 'watch out for bones!'

Nana working at CAFOD has first-hand experience of the little fish:

"In Africa, we never let anything go to waste. Some people even say the bones are where the goodness is! In some Ghanaian households, you dare not get rid of the head or else you would be in serious trouble. It can be a bit of a bony fish, but grilled or added to pepper soup, its always a crowd pleaser. If you are tempted to try tilapia for the first time after reading this, take your time, ensure you start with small mouthfuls to capture any bones before swallowing."

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