Taiwanese aquatic breeding expert wins Japan's Nikkei Asia Prize

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Liao Yi-chiu, the father of prawn farming in Taiwan

Liao Yi-chiu, the father of prawn farming in Taiwan (By Central News Agency)

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

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

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

Liao, 82, said after the ceremony that he hoped the Taiwan 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.

Meanwhile, a member of the panel of judges for the Nikkei Asia Prize said that grass prawns, Thai shrimps and mullet roe are common servings 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 the jury member Matsumoto Hiroshi, head of Japan's 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 Fengyuan, Taichung and went to University of Tokyo in 1962, where he earned a PhD degree in agriculture. Liao returned to Taiwan in 1968 and began working at the Fisheries Research Institute. The following year, he gained the distinction of developing for the first time an artificial seeding technology to culture giant tiger prawns.

Currently, Liao is a fellow at Taiwan's top research institution 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 yen (US$27,332) and a certificate of recognition. (By Yang Ming-chu and Evelyn Kao)