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November 7, 2009

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Tiny shrimp generate big prices

RARE tiny black and white shrimp raised in Taiwan are selling for as much as US$830 apiece 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, interest buyers because of their novelty 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, centimeter-long critters known for black shells with white spots, live for about 16 months. They require pure fresh water at a fixed temperature to shed their shells every few weeks and remain fit enough to breed.

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


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