Animal sexual reproduction relies on primordial germ cells (PGCs), the predecessors of the germ cell lineage, giving rise to either spermatogonia or oogonia after the completion of gonadal differentiation. There is limited information on the mechanism of PGC migration leading to the formation of the primordial gonad in Perciform fish. Oreochromis mossambicus, a tilapiine species, was investigated that is a commercially important aquaculture species in many parts of the world while in other areas it has become an invasive pest. Key components involved in PGC migration were identified, including the stromal-cell derived factor 1 (Om-sdf1a, Om-sdf1b) and the CXC receptor 4 (Om-cxcr4): both share conservation with existing model species. The spatial gene expression profiles were determined through transcript and protein analysis and displayed distinct localisation within the region of the developing gonad in larvae and within the adult gonads of certain cell populations. A recombinant Om-sdf1a was produced in Escherichia coli that activates Om-cxcr4 using a BRET-based yeast in vitro assay system, suggesting that it is structurally similar to the native Om-sdf1a and is appropriate for further structural studies. This study has improved understanding of the molecular basis of tilapia reproduction through investigation of gonad development, which may be important in the progression towards reproductive suppression methods to control tilapia populations in the wild. In addition, this research will facilitate developments in germ cell transplantation, an innovative technique that harnesses germ cell migration and allows the uptake of foreign germ cells, which differentiate to produce sperm or ova.