Julian's Travels - Part 2 Taiwan 2017
After completing the first leg of my aquarium tour to Hong Kong and Guangzhou I then ventured to Taiwan where they are becoming world renowned for their ornamental shrimp breeding and have surpassed Japan in this field. Currently Taiwan supplies over 60% of the world’s market for shrimp. The Taiwanese are also well known for their breeding of many varieties of ornamental fish. Sadly and unfortunately for us Australians, Taiwan's ornamental fish rarely make it here as they are not a permitted country for export to Australia. Fish would firstly have to be trans-shipped to a permitted country for export, held for at least 2 weeks and then tested before they could make it to Australia making it prohibitively expensive exercise.
Taiwan is another country where the aquarium industry is blessed by strong support by their government. This is another prime example of how government funding and support can make this industry flourish.
The relatively new frontier of aqua scaping (for Australia) is dominated by well-known Taiwanese companies such as Azoo, Up-aqua and Ista who produce all the aqua scaping gear to setup your planted aquarium and keep it in pristine condition and complements their dominance in their shrimp production.
Taiwan has also been world leaders for the research and development of fluorescent fish. Since the first Fully-Fluorescent transgenic fish was announced they have been distributing them all over the world. Unfortunately for Australia we also miss out on these fish due to them being classed as a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Day one of my aquarium tour of Taiwan I visited Minquan East Road section 5, Taipei's aquarium street. This district was dominated with well-developed and established aquarium stores covering all aspects of fish keeping and a must see attraction to any aquarist.
As with many of the Asian countries I have visited. Most stores had huge feature display tanks in their front windows showing off their prized tank busters including Asian Arowana, red-tail catfish and freshwater stingrays.
Highlights for me fish-wise was seeing the rare South American Wolf Fish, Platinum Aligator Gar, Golden Dorado, Albino Sturgeon and heaps of rare L-number Catfish all ready for sale. Many of the fish in these shops I have never had the privilege of seeing in person before. Shrimps had a strong presence with many high quality good sized specimens on display and at reasonable prices.
For the second part of my Taiwan adventure I travelled 2hrs south via the high-speed train (Taiwan's bullet train) to visit Taiwan’s biggest ornamental fish producer and exporter. I was so lucky to meet the modern day father of transgenic fish and his hospitality was incredible. We sat and had tea and fruit in his palace-like office and discussed the remote possibilities of getting Taiwan on Australia's list of countries permitted for export. I was so privileged to view in person the first lot of transgenic angelfish he has created as well as his personal showroom showcasing the successful florescent species he has previously created (including zebra danio and convict cichlid). It felt like i had stepped into the future once entering the palace and the best way I can describe it was like entering a sci-fi movie about cloning such as "The Island or "6th Day".
This southern region of Taiwan was packed with lots of farms and producers rearing everything from ornamental shrimps, rare Corydoras and South American Apistogramma to Lake Malawi cichlids. I was also fortunate enough to be able to see several farms first hand. Taiwan is currently producing over 400 species of ornamental fish and shrimp with the majority of species not being endemic to the country. Of the fish produced here approximately 90% is exported to Europe, America and to a lesser extent South East Asia.
As Taiwan asserts its growing dominance in ornamental fish production it will soon become a major player in this trade and hopefully Australia can soon accept Taiwan as a permitted country for export. It is a shame we do not have direct access to these world renowned, top quality and healthy fish.
As my trip concludes I am so happy that i had this opportunity to broaden my horizons and to be so widely accepted by so many different companies and corporations who were all prepared to give me the time of day and assist me with any of my endeavours.
Special thanks, to my good mate Eric who made this all possible for me and to my wonderful wife who meticulously organised this trip. Hopefully I can make a difference with what I have learnt on this trip.
Check out our facebook page for photos from part two www.facebook.com/JMWaquaticsolutions/
Julian Wong B.Sc. Hons
JMW International Pty. Ltd. t/as Aquatic Solutions