Giant goldfish now ambassador for species

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Tan Ee Lyn,HONG KONG, Reuters

A giant goldfish which has clinched a place in the Guinness Book of Records is about to take up ambassadorial duties, his Hong Kong breeder said on Thursday.

Bruce, who at 40 cms (15.7 inches) has been recognized by Guinness as the world’s longest goldfish, is likely to be moved from his home in southern China to a Hong Kong aquarium and then be put on display elsewhere in the world.

Showing off the Guinness certificate, breeder Jackie Chan said the fish — as big as a domestic cat — has grown more since his statistics were first lodged with the world’s record keepers.

But what he tips the scales at remains a mystery. Bruce has never been weighed and Guinness discourages weight category records for pets for fear of force-feeding.

Bruce has never left his specially designed stone tank at the fish farm owned by Chan and his brother Louis in Dongguan, southern China, but he may soon be joining the piscine jet set.

Ornamental fish enthusiasts in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore have been clamoring to exhibit Bruce since flaming orange bundle of muscle first shot to fame in January.

“He will probably go first to Ocean Park, where visitors are international,” said Jackie, referring to a Hong Kong amusement park with large aquariums and a special section on goldfish.

“He won’t go to Singapore so soon. There is definitely less risk involved if he is just moved to Hong Kong.”

His owners, meanwhile, are scratching their heads over how best to put a financial value on the prized fish — especially if he should travel overseas in the future.

“It’s very difficult to get insurance for him. Most insurers here are not too aware of his true value,” Jackie said.

The brothers first conceived of the plan to breed the world’s longest goldfish about five years ago.

Their first experiment proved a failure after the goldfish stopped growing at about age two. Bruce, now six months older than that, is their second try — and his owners intend to breed him next spring.

Goldfish are believed to have originated in China, where records dating back to 300 A.D. contain references to them. The Chinese in particular prize the brightly colored fish as a symbol of wealth and abundance.

Goldfish breeding later spread to Japan around 1500 and then to Britain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands in the 18th century with the flourishing of international trade.

The only other Guinness record involving goldfish is for the oldest, held by a fish called Tish.

Tish was won by a couple living in north Yorkshire, England, at a fairground stall in 1956, died at the grand old age of 43.