“Behold the Tilapia” by Kristine Diekman

  • ©, Kristine Diekman, Behold the Tilapia


    Behold the Tilapia

Artist(s) and People Involved:





Artist Statement:

    You see the tilapia in Egyptian art, its fat lips and fleshy body, and again the unmistakable top fin. You see the fish in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, turned to the west, its long, tall dorsal fin reaching across its back. It is known as the mother fish. Able to survive and adapt. She keeps babies in her mouth until the time they can swim and survive on their own. She endures increasing salinity. First 40 parts per thousand. Then 50. Then 60. She is a survivor. But just barely. It is true. She has a bad rap. Over abundant, bad tasting, foul smelling, cheap. Climate change, water diversion, and evaporation is killing the Salton Sea. While she may survive this year and next, she has stopped reproducing. And when the sea gets too salty even for her, she will finally die off. And her home will become a vast toxic wasteland. She will die and the birds will die, and even the unsuspecting brine shrimp will die.