Turning stone into gold-tilapia

Wang Yi-feng, President of Yunlin County Ko-Fwu Fishes Cooperation, is most proud of the Co-op’ achievement in developing the “collagen” extracted from fish scales of Taiwan Tilapia through technology cooperation with NCKU Research and Development Foundation. The collagen, offered at a price of around NT$400,000/kg, has been used for making collagen series of beautycare and healthcare products. Meanwhile, the collagen has been exported to Japan as a primary ingredient for popular Japanese brands of beautycare products. While significantly raising the value of fish scale by thousands of times, the technology breakthrough efficiently solves the problem with handling 200 metric tons of disregarded fish scales annually. 

Besides the collagen extracted from fish scale, Wang also makes use of fish skin for making handbags. The Co-op processes around 30 tons of fish materials every day, and that results in 20,000-30,000pcs of fish skin accordingly. The fish skin, after being test by a leather research center, is approved to be more elastic than cow skin in quality, and thus considered a good alternative material for making high quality handbags, belts, wallets, and other leather products. Besides, Taiwan Tilapia’s scales are also a good material for artificial cornea and bond graft. The innovative technology for making artificial corneas with fish scales is especially a good news for eye patients. As for the bond graft made with fish scales, it uses the HAP extracted from fish scales as the material of various bone substitutes for dentalists or orthopedists to use for making bone grafting. 

Besides, Wang also uses the fin of Taiwan Tilapia as a substitute of shark fin in light of their similar taste, an effort in protecting marine sharks. Moreover, there are jean makers who contact Wang for cooperation in mixing fish collagen to jean materials to enhance jean’s elasticity and, more importantly, to empower jeans with skin-protection function for the moisturizing effect of collagen. 

Based on the principle for developing fine aquaculture industry, Wang has obtained a number of local and international certificates for Taiwan Tilapia and related products, such as Taiwan-issued CAS and international HACCP certificates, aimed at the goal of continuously promoting the value-added of Taiwan Tilapia and leading Taiwan’s Tilapia industry to go globally.
 Taiwan Tilapia, which has been certified to secure its safety, has been exported to the over 10 major countries, including the U.S., EU, Japan, Korea, Canada, among others. The shipment bound to Japan and Korea alone accounts for over 200 tons annually. Domestically, the Co-op has signed contracts with China Airline, 7-Eleven, Pxmart, and a number of 5-star hotels as their contract suppliers of Taiwan Tilapia. The Co-op’s all such achievements are attributed to Wang's leadership, and he thus becomes the youngest winner ever of the “Taiwan top ten classic Shennong Agriculture awards”—the highest honor for the agriculture industry in Taiwan.  
Fish scales, mostly disregarded as useless waste, should become a primary ingredient of high-class beautycare products. Furthermore, Wang disclosed the value of fish eyes for their wealthy content of hyaluronic acid to be used as an ingredient of heathcare products. Wang makes full use of Taiwan Tilapia, from head to tail, leading Taiwan’s aquaculture industry to develop in the direction of creating higher-value added and stimulating the local economic development of Yunlin County. Wang is thus dubbed as the “Prince of Tilapia,” a nickname distinguishing his great achievement and contributions to Taiwan’s Tilapia industry.