TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan has succeeded in breeding two new color variants in captive harlequin shrimps, a species of saltwater crustacean found in coral reefs in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) said Friday.
Wild harlequin shrimps that live in waters in the East Pacific typically have deep pinkish-purple spots with yellow edges, while those that live in the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific tend to be more brownish with a blue edge.
Through gene recombination and hybridization, people will now have the option of raising this type of pet shrimp in shades of indigo blue and cobalt blue in fish tanks, the institute said.
The aquarium fish market is currently the third largest pet market after dogs and cats in Taiwan, it said, indicating that the market for aquarium shrimp has increased significantly in recent years.
According to the FRI, the output value of ornamental shrimp in Taiwan exceeds NT$200 million (US$6.64 million) annually.
Based on statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the institute said the global aquarium fish market in 2019 was worth approximately US$15 billion to US$20 billion.