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Shrimp expert wins Nikkei Asia Prize

‘FATHER OF AQUACULTURE’:One juror said that grass prawns, Thai shrimp and mullet roe are common ingredients on Japanese dinner tables because of Liao I-chiu

Staff writer, with CNA

Academia Sinica fellow and National Taiwan Ocean University lifetime distinguished professor Liao I-chiu poses with the Nikkei Asia Prize he received in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Photo: CNA

Liao I-chiu (廖一久), a Taiwanese expert in shrimp farming, was on Wednesday awarded the prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize at a ceremony in Tokyo for his contribution to the development of aquaculture in Asia.

In his acceptance speech, Liao, who won in the science and technology category, said that he was grateful for the scholarship he received as a young man to study in Japan.

He said that he was pleased to be able to share the systems and technology he developed over the years with regional stakeholders in the aquaculture industry.

After the ceremony, the 82-year-old said that he hoped the Taiwanese government would focus on the development of agriculture and aquaculture, alongside the information technology industry.

Known in Taiwan as the “father of prawn farming,” Liao was nominated for the Nikkei Asia Prize by Yoshimatsu Takao, a professor at Japan’s Mie University.

One member of the panel of judges said that grass prawns, Thai shrimp and mullet roe are common ingredients on dining tables in Japan, all because of Liao’s research efforts.

Liao has made a great contribution to the development of the aquaculture industry, not just in Taiwan, but in the wider region and has also earned the title “father of aquaculture in Asia,” said Matsumoto Hiroshi, head of Japan’s National Institute of Physical and Chemical Research.

Liao was born in Japan to Taiwanese parents, who returned home when he was four years old. He grew up in what is now Taichung’s Fengyuan District (豐原) and went to the University of Tokyo in 1962, where he earned a doctorate in agriculture.

Liao returned to Taiwan in 1968 and began working at the Fisheries Research Institute. The following year, he gained distinction for developing the first artificial seeding technology to culture giant tiger prawns.

Liao is a fellow at Academia Sinica and at the World Academy of Sciences, and is a lifetime distinguished professor at National Taiwan Ocean University.

He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Japanese government in 2014 and became an honorary member of Japan International Food and Aquaculture Society in 2017.

The Nikkei Asia Prize is awarded annually to individuals, groups or organizations in Asia, excluding Japan, for achievements in the areas of economic and business innovation; science and technology; and culture and community.

The prize is designed to recognize outstanding achievements that contribute to the region’s sustainable development and to the creation of a better future for Asia.

Winners of the Nikkei Asia Prize are each awarded ¥3 million (US$27,571) and a certificate of recognition.

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