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From selling fish to selling a lifestyle by Alexis Hooi  AS THE world's top exporter of ornamental fish, it takes just one day for Singapore dealers to deliver their products to any one of 80 countries. But Singapore's exporters, who have a 24 per cent share of the world market worth $300 million annually, are not taking it easy. They aim to increase this share and a new business group has been formed, bringing together exporters, government agencies and university researchers. Initiated by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the Ornamental Fish Business Cluster Group is chaired by Mr. Kenny Yap, 38, managing director of a major player, Qian Hu Corporation. Its 15 other members include International Enterprise Singapore, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Spring Singapore. Speaking at the opening of the four-day ornamental fish and aquarium accessories show, or Aquarama 2003, at the Singapore Expo yesterday, Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Vivian Balakrishnan said businesses need to be proactive and not leave things to market forces alone. 'The industry must do more than just sell the fish, plants, tanks and accessories. It must sell a lifestyle.' That is exactly what the group proposes to do. It is currently looking into all aspects of the industry, said vice-chairman Ling Kai Huat, 50. Apart from technologies to improve the harvesting and packaging of fish, breeding, fish-health management and water-quality control will also be studied. There are also plans to develop more extensive certification programmes to train those in the business. Dr Ling, who is also head of AVA's Aquaculture Services Centre, said: 'Our main role is to reinforce Singapore as the top ornamental fish exporter of the world. We want to build the Singapore brand in this area.' Mr. Yap added: 'The ideal situation is to bring people to an environment where they can experience the activity and learn from there. Hopefully we can have an academy of ornamental fish, or something close to that.'  IP Address: message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg

Aquarama Show > <Anytime my friend. Glad to. Will you be going to the Aquarama show in Singapore this year? Bob Fenner> > I'm still a college students. I don't have the money or time to go over a foreign country. Still I have always wanted to go to Singapore. <Ah, I understand... still, there are always inexpensive means...> Just what is the Aquarama Show anyway? Are they showing new creatures suitable for aquarium trade? <This is a every other year trade show in the aquarium interest that showcases the best of what's new in cultured and collected aquatic livestock (along with the Interzoo in Germany which mainly showcases drygoods, these are the biggest, best "business" get togethers in aquatics> Just how many new creatures are introduce into the aquarium each year do you know? <Can only guess... likely a few dozen species, cultivars. Bob Fenner>

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