Price of pa­tience? Rare Tai­wan shrimp sells for $830

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

TAIPEI: Rare, tiny black-and-white shrimp raised in Tai­wan are sell­ing for as much as $830 (R6 300) each to col­lec­tors in Ja­pan, de­spite short life-spans and prob­lems breed­ing, of­fi­cials at an ex­hi­bi­tion said yes­ter­day.

The black King Kong shrimp, about 2 000 of which are be­ing raised by just four Tai­wan breed­ers armed with tech­nol­ogy and reser­voirs of pa­tience, sus­tain in­ter­est among buy­ers be­cause of their nov­elty in aquar­i­ums and the off-chance they will breed.

“It’s the Ja­panese char­ac­ter to col­lect odd or rare stuff, but their suc­cess with the shrimp isn’t too high,” said Tai­wan Or­na­men­tal Fish As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Shar­man Chou.

Black King Kong shrimp, cen­time­tre-long crit­ters known for black shells with white spots, live for about 16 months.

Once na­tive to south­ern China but mod­i­fied by breed­ers in Ja­pan and fi­nally Tai­wan, which is the only source to­day, the shrimp re­quire pure fresh wa­ter at a fixed tem­per­a­ture to shed their shells ev­ery few weeks and re­main fit enough to breed.

Prices vary from $30 to $830, said Chung Kuo­nan, pub­lic­ity head with the Tai­wan fisheries agency, which en­cour­ages breed­ing the shrimp be­cause farms take up only small plots of land and gen­er­ate lit­tle pol­lu­tion.

They sell at auc­tions and on­line. – Reuters

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