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Taiwan 2017 show blog: Asia's 'most advanced' factory set for 2018 launch

Keep checking back here to get all the news from the third edition of the Taiwan International Fisheries and Seafood Show in Kaohsiung.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2.13 p.m. CST

See you next year!

95ec999394a45cd5ff575493bf76df49 Taiwan show 2018 dates.  Photo: Elisabeth Fischer/IntraFish

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Saturday, Nov. 11, 1.26 p.m. CST

Asia’s ‘most-advanced’ processing plant to open in Q2 2018

Taiwanese company Anyong Biotechnology is ready to open its new plant in the second quarter of next year, Luyi Wu, public relations manager at parent Topco, told IntraFish.

The company invested TWD 600 million (€17 million/$19.9 million) to build what it calls Asia’s “most advanced processing plant.”

The facility features cells alive system (CAS) technology, which uses electromagnetic fields and mechanical vibrations to make water clusters vibrate during the freezing process, preventing ice crystal formation that destroys the fish's texture.

As a result, no chemical additives are needed. It will only be the third processing plant using CAS. The other two facilities are located in France and Germany.

It also features a warehouse, which will be kept at ultra-low temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius.

The company plans to process around 100 metric tons per month, which is located at Mituo District in Kaohsiung.

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Saturday, Nov. 11, 11.40 a.m. CST

The rise of a bacterium

Fortune Life Enterprise, a Taiwanese seafood producer and processor, and the supplier of a very unique probiotic, has seen some progress since last time it met with IntraFish.

The company is tackling some of the issues caused by cheap feed and pollution with a naturally occurring bacterium -- FSE -- which, mixed into the feed through a probiotic, results in a healthier fish, more stable water quality, and less environmental pollution.

Cooperation with fish farmers using this so-called BUIK system is on the rise, Jerry Tsai, sales manager at the company, said.

Most recently, Fortune Life was able to convince some scampi, or freshwater shrimp, farmers to use the probiotic and it is now in talks with vannamei and black tiger shrimp producers in Taiwan to do the same.

“The current climate for shrimp farmers is not a good one,” Tsai said. “Survival rates are not great.”

And there’s more: Fortune Life hopes to have inked a deal in China by the end of this year or early next year. One tilapia feed supplier is interested in the method, Tsai said.

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Saturday, Nov. 11, 9.06 a.m. CST

China buys everything

Good quality products, bad quality products, cheap products, expensive products – there’s a buyer and a consumer for every type of fish and seafood in mainland China.

Taiwan might seem like a similar market but that’s an erroneous belief, Johnson Seafood’s Edward C.T. Lin said.

He described the Taiwanese consumer as “wealthy” who wouldn’t opt for low-quality seafood, even when income declines.

“But in China you find someone for everything you want to sell,” he said.

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Saturday, Nov. 11, 9.02 a.m. CST

The two-sidedness of aquaculture

Aquaculture’s rise in the global seafood industry has its upsides, but there are downsides as well, according to Edward C.T. Lin, deputy general manager of Kaohsiung-headquartered importer Johnson Seafood.

“Farmed products have made my life easier but they also made it tougher,” he said. “Everyone is buying the same products and everyone is selling the same products.”

As an importer, Johnson Seafood -- which has an annual revenue of $100 million -- prefers aquaculture products because “they are more stable in quality, color, volumes and prices,” Lin said.

Buyers at retailers and at restaurant chains want “uniformity.”

But this uniformity isn’t always good, Lin said, suggesting soon enough everyone will be eating exactly the same fish and seafood.

He named India’s shift from Black tiger to vannamei shrimp production as one example of where producers just followed this demand structure.

Johnson, which supplies wholesalers (70 percent) as well as restaurants and foodservice suppliers (30 percent), still mainly sells wild-caught fish and seafood.

Lobster is one of the firm’s biggest items. The focus is on premium products – and thankfully a number of restaurants still want to be unique, also in their seafood, Lin said.

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Saturday, Nov. 11, 8.30 a.m. CST

Cage dreams in Indonesia

Taiwanese fish farming cage manufacturer Toford Aquaculture has found a witty solution to market some of its experiences with fish farmers.

A poster showing a traditional grouper cage farm in Indonesia, made of wood, features the tagline: “The most expensive cage you can buy. More maintenance. More worries. Less sleep.”

The story behind? Toford has been trying hard to get this particular Indonesian customer to buy some of its cages. The customer wants to expand, and has money, Toford’s Dave Chen said. But he can’t because the workers have to fix the traditional cage every day.

“Workers are working on it every day. They don’t have time to expand,” Chen said.

The costs for a traditional cage farm are by far lower than Toford’s equipment, at around $20,000. One competitor in Indonesia – Aquatec – would sell its cages for about $100,000 but Toford’s asking price is $250,000 because it uses a special double-wall neck to make it more stable.

“This makes it difficult to compete and we might need to find a different solution for Indonesia,” Chen said.

Japan is still Toford’s biggest market, with about 60 to 70 percent of overall sales. But Indonesia is the one with the biggest potential, Chen said.

“It just seems to be a good place right now,” he told IntraFish.

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Friday, Nov. 10, 4.30 p.m. CST

South Korea's K-Fish brand ready to take on US, Europe

More than 100 South Korean companies are now allowed to sell their products under the national K-Fish brand, Seung Ho Choi, assistant manager export department at the Korea Fishery Trade Association, told IntraFish.

The requirements are strict: Companies need to be "qualified" and they will get audited. They need to hold certain certifications, change their product packages and put the K-Fish logo on their packs.

"It's a government-certified brand," Choi said.

The United States and the European Union are the most interesting markets for the brand right now, he said.

But there's also opportunities in "halal markets" such as in Malaysia and Dubai. "But the big buyers are in the United States and Europe," Choi said.

Currently 11 products are available, including fresh flatfish, abalone (fresh and processed), gim/laver (dry and seasoned), sea cucumber (dry), oysters (frozen), red snow crab, fish cakes (steamed, grilled, fried and fish meat sausage), squid (seasoned), conger (fillet), tuna (canned and pouched), and miyok/sea mustard (dry).

As of September, the 'K-Fish' trademark is registered in 36 countries including the United States, the European Union, Japan and China. The trademark application process is currently in review in 16 countries, including Russia and Vietnam.

Commenting on the strained political relations between the United States, North Korea and South Korea, Choi said there hasn't been an impact on South Korea's seafood trade as yet.

"President [Donald] Trump visited South Korea a few days ago and apparently everything went well," he said. "We're not that worried about it."

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Friday, Nov. 10, 12.50 p.m. CST

There's plenty of challenges in Taiwan

Taiwan's aquaculture industry is not living up to its potential, Chi-Yuan Liu, secretary general at the Fish Breeding Association Taiwan, told the audience at the International Forum on Aquaculture Industry Trends this morning.

There's a lack of collaboration, a lack of market knowledge, and competition from overseas is increasing.

"We began to lose international markets when our politics changed," he said. Without the help from mainland China, companies didn't know "what direction to turn to. It's very difficult."

There have been some efforts by officials, including the foreign office and TAITRA, to set up foreign trade policies but "we're not there yet."

The domestic market, with its population of 23 million, is not big enough to sustain further growth.

And there's even increasing competition from countries such as Norway (salmon and cod) as well as Vietnam (pangasius) in the domestic market.

"We're isolated because we're on an island," he said.

The solution? Liu believes there needs to be greater cooperation between officials, academia and the industry to give the small-scale producers of Taiwan an international platform.

"That's why the government should take the lead," he said.

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Friday, Nov. 10, 11.40 a.m. CST

Taiwanese eel farmer expands to China

Chihfu Fishery, which produces about 100 metric tons of eel per year, opened two new farms in Hainan, China, in September and October this year.

The company is looking to expand its foothold in foreign Asian markets with the move, said Crystal Sun, whose father founded the firm 27 years ago.

Chihfu started farming eel seven years ago -- before it was mainly shrimp -- and today runs five eel farms in Taiwan.

It produces four types of the fish: American eel, white or Japanese eel, bi-colored eel and European eel.

It imports the glass eel from the Philippines, Sun said. These baby eels are then raised in closed recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) farms for eight months before they're released into outdoor ponds.

This method is the firm's competitive advantage, Sun said.

Chihfu's eels have a survival rate of 70-80 percent, while competitors are struggling with "much lower" survival rates of 30-40 percent.

About 40 metric tons are processed by Chihfu itself into Japanese-style products: grilled with a soybean and sugar sauce. The rest is exported or sold to restaurants as whole or live eel.

The main markets are Japan, Korea, mainland China and Taiwan, Sun said.

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Friday, Nov. 10, 9.30 a.m. CST

Thai shrimp production approaching 300,000 tons

Thailand’s shrimp production is back on track and slowly but surely recovering from the devastating Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) crisis, said Thai Union’s Siriporn Jantarawangso.

Conservative -- or official -- estimates predict overall production volumes for this year at 260,000 to 280,000 metric tons but it’s more likely to hit 300,000 metric tons, she said.

“It’s getting better every year, step-by-step."

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Friday, Nov. 10, 9.10 a.m. CST

Thai Union launches new shrimp snacking product

Processing giant Thai Union launched a new snacking item to Thailand’s retailers in August this year, Naree Yeekengiam, marketing manager at the group, told IntraFish.

The ‘Shrimp Cheek Snack’ comes in two variants: Original Flavour – Garlic and Pepper and Spicy Flavour – Chilli and Pepper.

Made from shrimp cheek, it is breaded and fried with rice bran oil.

The group is now trying to launch the item into export markets -- and Taiwan is one of them.

Siriporn Jantarawangso, senior marketing manager at Thai Union, said the group is also seeing opportunities for its traditional head-on raw and cooked shrimp in Taiwan.

The firm used to export to Taiwan but then Chinese production swept in.

“But at the moment the production in China is not enough to cover its own domestic demand so they start buying again,” Jantarawangso said.

ef604c5061fede2fbd042891242e28cb Thai Union's new shrimp snacking product.  Photo: Elisabeth Fischer/IntraFish

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Friday, Nov. 10, 8.30 a.m. CST

Ecuador’s Nirsa knocking on Taiwanese doors

It’s the first time Ecuadorian tuna and shrimp supplier Nirsa is attending the Taiwan show. The aim? To knock on a few doors, Julio Moscoso Valenzuela, responsible for shrimp international sales at the firm, told IntraFish.

“It’s a small market but it’s a very interesting one indeed,” he said. Moscoso Valenzuela was headed to Kaohsiung directly from the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo.

"China is the [No. 1] market for us,” he said. Nirsa ships about 1,200 containers of shrimp a year to China -- but none to Taiwan.

One of the reasons is the import tax. While Central American states have a zero-duty agreement with Taiwan, Ecuador has to pay.

Family-owned Nirsa’s core business is tuna, of which it processes 450 metric tons a day. It owns 19 fishing vessels, which catch for tuna and sardines and owns two processing plants, processing tuna, fishmeal and shrimp.

The company sells 2,500 containers of shrimp a year harvested at its own farms. The United States is the second-biggest market for its shrimp – mainly value-added – and then comes Europe.

But no one is paying prices as in China, Moscoso Valenzuela said. This means that knocking on a few more doors in Asia doesn’t hurt.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 5.04 p.m. CST

Japan: It's all about the bluefin tuna

The Japanese pavilion is a regular sight at the Taiwan International Fisheries & Seafood show. What's new this year is the showcasing and tasting of the king of sushi: bluefin tuna.

And it's not just any bluefin tuna -- it's farmed bluefin tuna. The Japanese Fisheries Association brought three of the fish to the show, weighing 50 kilograms each.

"Quite a lot of effort to bring it here," one representative of the association told IntraFish dryly.

There are currently about 100 companies in Japan raising bluefin tuna, producing 15,000 metric tons annually.

Most of it is still ranched tuna, where wild-caught juveniles are used.

However, more and more effort is going into completing the full farming cycle and about 10 percent of the overall volume now comes from full-cycle aquaculture production, the representative said.

"We're trying to increase exports; that's why we're here."

abc09f916b0e79cc6ede14529ec86d87 Farmed bluefin tuna from Japan showcased at the 2017 Taiwan show.  Photo: Elisabeth Fischer/IntraFish

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 3.45 p.m. CST

One-stop strategy to fight fish disease

The National Taiwan Ocean University developed a strategy to fight two major diseases grouper farmers struggle with -- and at least one part of it is already commercially available.

One of the diseases is the Nervous Necrosis Virus (NNV), the other one is the Irido virus, Pinwen Peter Chiou, department of aquaculture director, division of international cooperation at the university, said.

NNV hits grouper fries when they haven't developed a fully functioning immune system, while Irido hits the fish in the grow-out stage.

"They literally hit the fish back-to-back, which is why we have developed a strategy to target the whole growth cycle," Chiou said.

To fight NNV, the university developed and introduced a small molecule -- RNA -- that is being mixed into the feed and interferes with the virus. It can increase survival rates up to 96 percent and is available through EverVast in Taiwan.

"It disturbs the lifecycle of the virus but is not actually going into the host [fish] and decays over time, disintegrating into the system," he said.

To fight Irido, the university is using Bacillus substilis, a food-graded bacteria, which is safe to consumers, as well as small nucleo-acids and ODN molecules, which fight the virus by stimulating the innate immune system.

"With this strategy we developed a one-stop solution to fight disease in grouper," Chiou said.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 3.26 p.m. CST

New tech to improve fisheries sustainability

Technologies could help improve Taiwan's issues with fisheries sustainability, Hsiang-Chih Chan, president and founder of Awareocean, believes.

The company, which provides a range of underwater technology for marine environmental monitoring and data analysis, has one ultimate goal: to improve the environmental impact the fishing industry has on the marine life.

Along the way, companies can also increase catches and decrease the use of fuel, Chan said.

"We have to monitor boats, monitor how much they catch and stock developments," he told IntraFish.

Awareocean's technologies are long-term investments into the marine environment, he believes.

The company is currently consulting for the Taiwanese government and has "some" customers in the fishing industry itself, Chan said.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 3.10 p.m. CST

Issues with EMS? Try poly-culture

Taiwan's shrimp farmers have a simple, but effective method, to fight Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) in shrimp, the National Taiwan Ocean University found: poly-culture.

When shrimp get infected with the disease, farmers simply harvest the shrimp and for the next cycle they put fish in the ponds, and that way the bacteria don't survive.

Danty Lin of Shye Yih Feeding confirmed this, saying it's a frequent occurrence among farmers in the country.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 2.55 p.m. CST

Tilapia lake virus? That's fake news!

News that Taiwan's aquaculture sector was hit by an outbreak of tilapia lake virus (TiLV) this summer were "fake," Danty Lin of Shye Yih Feeding said.

The company, which mainly produces fish and shrimp feed, also has 100 hectares of ponds for sea bass and tilapia farming.

"There were no issues with the virus here in Taiwan," Lin told IntraFish. "It was fake news."

As a result of the media reports, the price for tilapia dropped to TWD 22 (€0.63/$0.73) for 600 grams-sized fish, Lin said.

Prices recovered, however, and are back at TWD 28 (€0.80/$0.93) today.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 2.45 p.m. CST

Taiwanese feed producer targets new export markets

Shye Yih Feeding -- which sells fish and shrimp feed under the Hai Yang brand -- is looking to enter new export markets after it built a new production facility in Kaohsiung three years ago.

The company currently produces around 50,000 metric tons of feed, of which about 10-20 percent is shrimp feed, Danty Lin, sales manager at the company, told IntraFish.

This, however, is far below the production capacity of 10,000 metric tons a month, or 120,000 metric tons a year.

"We're only using half [of our annual production capacity] at the moment, which is why we want to increase our exports," he said.

Shye Yih Feeding started with exports to Korea five years ago and to Malaysia two years ago. It wants to grow further in those markets but is seeing the biggest growth opportunities in India, especially for shrimp.

Aquaculture production in Taiwan has been "strong" but seafood businesses here are facing the increasingly pressing issue of declining demand due to a slow-down in population growth, Lin said.

Prices in the market dropped as a result.

"I think fish is to cheap here, sometimes we don't even make enough money [to cover production cost]," Lin said.

As a result, many businesses are now targeting export markets in Asia, Lin said -- just like Shye Yih Feeding.

The company has an annual turnover of TWD 1.3 billion (€37.1 million/$43.1 million). It has shrimp, sea bass, grouper, milkfish and other feed in its portfolio.

It sources the fishmeal for its feed in South America, Lin said.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 12.20 p.m. CST

Grobest eyes India, Indonesia for shrimp processing

Asian shrimp and fish feed giant Grobest has long set its eye on becoming a greater player in shrimp processing and is now taking steps toward vertical integration in Indonesia and India, Vincent Lin, general manager and head of food at the firm, said.

The company is seeing "great potential" in those two countries, he told IntraFish.

Grobest currently operates feed plants as well as "protein development" both in Indonesia and India. The plans to invest into processing are still at "initial stages," Lin said, declining to share further details.

A potential EU ban on Indian shrimp, however, could have fatal implications, with Lin calling it a "critical issue."

He himself visited India some weeks ago, he said, adding businesses there told him that "there has been an improvement."

But because India's shrimp farming sector is still mainly made up of small-scale farmers, he believes the push for change will have to come from officials, from processing plants and other bigger businesses involved in exporting shrimp.

Last year, Grobest reported a turnover of around $900 million, Lin said.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 12.00 p.m. CST

Taiwan ready to step up efforts against IUU

Improving the sustainability of its fisheries, and curbing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been on top of the government's agenda, said Chin-Cheng Huang, deputy minister of Taiwan's Council of Agriculture, during his remarks at the show's opening ceremony.

"We're working hard to create a new paradigm for the fisheries sector and are strengthening fisheries sustainability in order to curb IUU fishing," he said. "Our council is ready to step up the effort."

In a bid to "eliminate destructive fishing gear and fishing methods" the council invested in more staff to tackle the issues head-on.

"We're under a lot of stress to improve the sustainability [of our fishing industry]," he said.

Through the invitation of other Pacific players to the show, Taiwan hopes to increase collaboration between the nations and to "implement proactive measures," he said.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 11.00 a.m. CST

The show floor is open

65f7432fb7ec53162d4d0fbd90a8e069 Opening ceremony at the Taiwan International Fisheries and Seafood Show in Kaohsiung.  Photo: Elisabeth Fischer/IntraFish

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 9.30 a.m. CST

Third time around

The third edition of the Taiwan International Fisheries & Seafood Show is kicking off at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center (KEC) this morning.

The show is co-organized by My Exhibition and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and will see 185 exhibitors from 21 nations attending the three-day event.

Apart from domestic aquaculture, processing and fishing exhibitors, it features pavilions from Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, as well as a South Pacific National Pavilion consisting of archipelagic states, including Marshall Islands, Tuvalu Islands, Solomon Islands and Republic of Kiribati.

Exhibitors from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and India are showcasing their products at the New Southbound National Pavilion.

The show is expected to attract 7,000 foreign and local visitors, the organizers said.

There's several interesting and pressing issues that could be discussed at this year's show. Taiwan is still yellow card-listed by the European Union, a topic already discussed when IntraFish attended the first show back in 2015.

Hopes are high the yellow card could be lifted soon, however, so far no decision has been made.

Taiwan's aquaculture sector on the other hand was hit by an outbreak of tilapia lake virus (TiLV) this summer, and a seminar on aquaculture industry trends on Friday will look at the challenges Taiwan's aquaculture industry is currently facing.

It's going to be yet another interesting look into the country's fish and seafood industry!

Click here to see the IntraFish coverage from last year's event.

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 7.30 a.m. CST

We're back in Kaohsiung!

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