Impact of successful larval rearing on the competitiveness of
J. Fish. Soc. Taiwan , 30( 1): 43-53
Impact of Successful Larval Rearing on the Competitiveness of the Eel Aquaculture in Taiwan , Japan and China Wu-Chung Lee
13 • ,
Yu-Hui Chen * , Yir晦-Chou Lee and I Chiu Li a0 2
(Received, December 3, 2002; Revised, January 10, 2003; Accepted, January 20, 2003)
ABSTRACT Eel is one of the mostimportant aquaculture species in Asia. Taiwan , Japan , and China are the leading eel-producing countries , contributing to about 90% of the world eel
aquaculture production. Since the technology on larval rearing has not yet been established, the glass eel supply is entirely dependent on natural harvest , which limits the scale and area of eel aquaculture. Such dependence results in the fluctuation of seed prices and the instability of the industry's development. Since the seed expense contributes to 30%-60% of the eel production cost , it is believed that the commercialization of larval rearing technology will be able to abate the eel production cost , and therefo悶， elevate the competitiveness of eel aquaculture. The Domestic Resource Cost (DRC) index was used in this research to analyze the impact of successful propagation on the competitiveness of the eel aquaculture in Taiwan , Japan , and China. Our results suggest that the first country to successfully achieve the technique in larval rearing would be rewarded with the most profit. This paper also provides some suggestions to improve the competitiveness of the eel aquaculture in Taiwan , Japan , and China. Key words: Eel aquaculture, Larval rearing, Competitiveness.
INTRODUCTION Due to its high nutritional qu ality, high productivity , high market price , and well established grow-out culture techniques, eel is an ideal species for aquaculture. 8ince the technology on artificial propagation of eel has not yet been successful , the glass eel supply is entirely dependent on natural harvest, which limits the scale and area of eel aquaculture. Encouraged by the high profitability of Taiwanese eel aquaculture, China and Malaysia also developed their eel aquaculture that resulted in an excess demand for glass eels and elvers which significantly increased the prices of glass ee l. For
instance, the price of glass eels in Taiwan even j umped to 1.98 U8$/piece in 1994. High seed price not only increased eel production cost, but also set back the development of the eel aq uaculture. It has been a great challenge for the aquaculture community to stabilize the supply of glass eels an d elvers. 8ince the early 1950s, many researchers have attempted to breed eel under laboratory
conditions (Matsui , 1952; Yamamoto and Yamauchi , 1974; Yu and Tsai , 1994; 8ato et al. , 1995 , 1996 , 1998; Tanaka , 1999a , b; Li ao and Chang, 2001). Li mited knowledge on reproductive physiology, feeding behavior, nutritional requirement , and larval ecology , however , have accounted for the difficulty in the development of artificial propaga-
Institute of Fishery Science , National Taiwan University, Taipei 106 , Taiwan Department of Agricultural Economics , National Taiwan University , Taipei 106, Taiwan 3Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute, Keelung 202 , Taiwan Corresponding author, Email: email@example.com
Wu-Chung Lee , Yu-Hui Chen , Ying-Chou Lee and I Chiu Li ao
tion techniques. Nevertheless , in recent years , progress in larval rearing has been made. The duration of eel larval rearing in the laboratory has reached 31 days and 22 days , respectively , in Taiwan (Yu and Tsai , 1994) and China , and even up to 253 days in Japan (Tanaka , 1998 , 1999a , b). The laUer is considered to be a technological breakthrough in eel artificial propagation. It is anticipated that the larval rearing technology will be successful in the early 21 st century through biotechnology (Li ao , 2001). The seed expense constitutes a large po吋 ion of total eel production cost , varying from 30% to 60% (Chou and Lee , 1993). If the glass eels and elvers can be supplied through artificial propagation , eel production cost structure may be reduced drastical 旬， which will in turn affect the competitiveness of the eel producing countries in Asia. Therefore , an early evaluation of this development is necessary as one of the basis for modifying the structure and policy design of eel aquaculture in the future . Taiwan , Japan , and China are the principal eel producing and eel consuming countries , contributing to more than 85.8% of the world eel aquaculture production (Fig. 1) and 85.6% of the world eel consumption (Fig. 2). These three countries were , therefore , chosen for this research to investigate their competitiveness in the Japanese eel market , before and after the success of eel larval rearing. The ∞mpara回 tive advantage theory was adopted for this investigation under the assumption that eel larval rearing is successful and stable. Yu (1976) adopted the Domestic Resource Cost (DRC) , the net social profit , and the marginal society productivity to analyze corn and soybean industries and concluded that DRC was the best approach in investigating industry's competitiveness. DRC approach was also used to analyze the advantage of competition among the rice industries of the U.S. , Taiwan , the Philippines , and Thailand (Pearson et al. , 1976), and the competitiveness of rice , sugarcane , hogs and some
other commodities in Taiwan (Chen , 2000). Li ng et al. (1999) also employed the approach in the field of aquaculture to assess the competitiveness of the Asian shrimp aquaculture. The competitiveness of eel aquaculture in Taiwan , Japan , and China was also investigated by Lee et al. (2002) using both the net private profitability (NPP) and DRC approaches and time series data for 1990-1999. Their finding suggest that the Chinese eel aquaculture possesses competitive advantage over Taiwan and Japan. As men 同 tioned above , although DRC approach has been adopted in assessing the competitiveness of several aquacultural industries , none of them ever use the very approach to evaluate the impact of successful larval rearing on the competitiveness of eel aquaculture industry In this among countries or regions. research , similar analytical approach was adopted to investigate and compare the shift in competitiveness of eel aquaculture in Taiwan , Japan , and China before and after the success of larval rearing under the assumption that larval rearing is successful and stable. MATERIALS AND METHODS The data on the production costs and market prices of the eel aquaculture during the period of 1990-1999 in Taiwan and Japan were collected from the Taiwan Fisheries Administration (Anon ., 1990-1999 , 1990-2000a) and the statistics published by the Japanese government (Anon. , 19902000b , 1990-2000c, 1990-2000d , 19902000e). The statistics data for the Chinese eel aquaculture were obtained by using the survey data conducted by Taiwan Eel Development Foundation and Taiwan Eel and Shrimp Expo吋ers TradeUnion. Lacking of reliable statistical data , the externalities are ignored in this study. The domestic resource costs of foreign exchange earned or saved by a production activity indicates the social oppo吋unity cost of earning a net marginal unit of foreign exchange (Pearson , 1974).
Impact of Successful Larval Rearing on the Competitiveness
Fig. 1. Production percentage of the major eel aquaculture producing countries in the world in 1999.
Fig. 2. Eel consumption of major eel producing countries in the world in 1999.
Wu-Chung Lee , Yu十~ui Chen , Ying-Chou Lee and I Chiu Li ao
Since the expenses of inputs are required in calculating DRC , the categories of inputs used in production and their costs is needed to be defined firs t. In general , inputs applied to production activities can be divided into two categories , tradable and non-tradable factors. Tradable factors can be either exported to earn foreign exchange or used domestically to save foreign exchange. Non-tradable factors represent those inputs that cannot be traded and can only be used domestically. Moreover, concept of opportunity cost is employed in evaluating commodity prices and input costs. According to economic theory , the opportunity cost is defined as the value of the best alternative use of a resource. The opportunity cost of a tradable commodity is equal to its border price that is the price of an expo吋 or impo的 converted into domestic currency at a given exchange rate (Chenery , 1981) An expo吋 bord er price is the domestic price at the point of export , free on board the carrier (the f.o.b. price). An impo吋 border price is the domestic price at the national border , inclusive of cost , insurance , and freight (the c.i .f. price) (Chen , 2000). The opportunity costs of non-tradable commodities are domestic shadow prices. The efficiency value of a non-tradable input is given by its contribution to output in the next best alternative use. If th ere is no alternative use , the shadow price is zero. If the contribution of the non-tradable input to the alternative use has a higher value than to its current use , then the shadow price is positive and greater than its actual observed price. If the market is purely competitive , the market price is equal to the shadow price (Tsakok , 1990). According to Pearson and Meyer (1974) , DRC can be defined as:
Domestic resources and nontradabl einputs valued at oppor! unity costs or shadow price Net foreign exchange earned or saved by producing the good dornestically
(1 ) The formula used in calculation can
be expressed as:
)'n. ,V+E DRC ，=缸片 +1~'Jj , E
ajj: The quantity of the jth tradable input needed to produce a unit of output , j=1.. .k; the quantity of the jth non-tradable input needed to produce a unit of output , j=k+1.. .n; Vj: The opportunity costs of domestic . resources and non-tradable inputs; Pt Border price of the jth input; Pj Border price of the ith output; E: The externality cost in the production of the ith outpu t. When DRC j = 1, the industry is on the break even point of benefit and cost; DRCj > 1, the industry is noncom petitive in the market; DRCj< 1, the industry is competitive in the market. U
RESULTS In this study all input factors , except seed and feed , are assumed as nontradable inputs and their shadow prices are equal to their domestic market prices. Seed is treated as a tradable factor , primarily because the supply of glass eel is totally dependent on natural harvest and on seeds imported from other countries. Feed, either produced domestically or im ported , is treated as a tradable factor , primarily because it cannot be Thus , imported produced sufficiently. seed and feed increase the foreign content of the final output of eel production. The c.i .f. prices in foreign markets are treated as shadow prices of eel expo付s ， taking into account opportunity costs of transport , distribution , and quality differences (Li ng et al. , 1999). Major expenses for eel production in Taiwan , Japan and China include costs of seed , feed and labor. Other expenses are summarized in Table 1. In 1990 , eel production cost in Taiwan was 6.25 US$/ kg , while that of Japan was 9.89 US$/kg , and China was 7.00 US$/kg. Feed expense
Table 1. Eel aquaculture production ∞8t in Taiwan , Japan , and China Unit:US$/I旬，%自0個 I
contributed to 37.80% (Taiwan) , 32 .40% (Japan) , and 37.20% (China). In 1993 , eel production costs were 10.89 US$/kg , 14.81 US$/kg , and 10.62 US$/kg in Taiwan , Japan , and China , respectively. Seed expense contributed to 50.78% (Taiwan) , 39.10% (Japan) , and 39.55% (China) of the total production cos t. The shortage in seed harvest and the increase in price of glass eel caused a significant increase in production cost in Taiwan in 1998 , amounting to 13.87 US$/kg , 61.79% ofwhich were seed cost (Table 1). A great harvest of glass eels in 1999 resulted in a low seed expense in Japan which in turn made the total production cost drop to 12.29 US$/kg. In the same year , the Chinese production cost was 6.09 US$/kg , of which 27.75% were accounted for seed expense. It is apparent that the seed price plays the most important role in eel production cos t. That is the reason why Taiwan , Japan , and China are devoting a great deal of efforts in seeking the technological breakthrough in eel artificial propagation (Lee et al. , 2002). The competitiveness prior to the success of larval rearing According to the calculated results , the DRC indices of the Taiwanese eel
aquaculture rose from 0.73 in 1990 to 0.94 in 1996. The DRC index further increased to 1.22 in 1998 , the first time it exceeded one , implying a relative disadvantage in the Japanese eel market (Table 2). Due tothe great harvest of glass eels in 1999 , the cost of tradable inputs was reduced and the DRC index dropped to 0.51 in that year. These results indicate the importance of seed expense on the competitiveness of the Taiwanese eel aquaculture. China started to put great efforts in developing its eel aquaculture since early 1990s. The immature production t，敏::hnology and low production efficiency caused its DRC index to be greater than one from 1990 to 1993 (2.13-1.05) but have been decreasing slowly since then. With the production technology transfer from Taiwan , China's competitiveness improved and the DRC indices was reduced to less than one since 1994 reducing to a low of 0 .4 2 in 1999. The rich natural resources and cheap labor cost made the DRC index in China to be lower than that in Taiwan and Japan. Japan eel aquaculture maintained its competitiveness in the early 1990s. However, the increasing production cost and importing large amount of cheap eel products had weakened its advantage , and Japan eventually lost its leadership
2.13 1.30 1.03 1.05 0.43
C 一巴 9891116036
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0.53 0.65 0.74
Table 2. Calculated Domestic Resource Cost (DRC) Indices of the eel aquaculture in Taiwan, Japan , and China
Impact of Successful Larval Rearing on the Competitiveness since 1993. Competitiveness after the success of larval rearing According to the past experiences in raising grass prawn , grouper, kuruma prawn , and milkfish , the seed price is decreased by about 80% after the technology on artificial propagation became successful (Li ao , 1991). The average seed price for the past 5 years (1995-1999) is used as a baseline for the price a吋 ustment when larval rearing technology is applied in mass production of seed. The corresponding DRC indices are calculated when the price deduction is assumed to be in the range of 10%-90%. The historical record of the relationship between eel price and seed price for the past decade was used to adjust the eel price under the circumstance of successful larval rearing. Our findings suggest that when Taiwan is the first to succeed in artificial propagation and the quantity of seed production is high enough to lower the seed price from 1.07 US$/piece to 0.64 US$/piece , a 40% decrease , its DRC index will become 0.53 which is less than the current DRC index of China (0. 55) (Table 3). When the price decrease caused by successful larval rearing is more than 40% , the DRC index of Taiwanese eel aquaculture will be
expected to be lower than the current DRC index of both China and Japan. On the other hand , if Japan is the first to succeed in larval rearing and the seed price can be reduced from 1.11 US$/piece to 0.78 US$/piece , a 30% decrease , then its DRC index will be lower than one , indicating a move from a less competitive to a competitive one. If Japan can further reduce the seed price by 90% , its DRC index will become 0.52 that is lower than the current DRC indices of China (0.55) and Taiwan (0.88). Lately , if China takes the lead in la川al rearing , its DRC index will be further reduced from its current value and its competitiveness will be strengthened as well (Table 3). DISCUSSION Since the 1950s , researches on eel artificial propagation have been conducted (Matsui , 1952). Due to the complexity in biology and life cycle of the eel , artificial propagation is still far from complete success (Larsen and Dufour, 1993; Tesch , 1997). The longest survival duration so far in the larval rearing of the Japanese eel is 253 days (Tanaka , 1999a , b). It is anticipated that a major breakthrough on larval rearing would be achieved in the near future (Satoh et al. , 2001). Examining the impacts of commercialized artificial propagation on the competitiveness of the
Table 3. Forecasted Domestic Resource Cost (DRC) Indices before and after the success in larval rearing 10%
0.88 0.77 0.67 0.59 (1.07) (0.97) (0.86) (0.75) 0.55 0.50 0.4 6 0.42 China (0.96) (0.87) (0.77) (0.68) 1.57 1.15 1.00 0.88 Japan (1.11) (1.00) (0.89) (0.78) 會 The average DRC during the period of 1995司 1999. The percentage that seed price will be reduced ( ) Parenthesis represents the average price for glass ee l. Taiwan
0.53 (0.64) 0.39 (0.58) 0.79 (0.67)
0.48 (0.54) 0.36 (0 .48) 0.72 (0.56)
0.44 (0 .4 3) 0.34 (0.39) 0.66 (0 .44)
0.4 1 (0.32) 0.32 (0.29) 0.60 (0.33)
0.38 (0.21) 0.30 (0.19) 0.56 (0.22)
0.35 (0.11) 0.29 (0.10) 0.52 (0.11)
Wu-Chung Lee , Yu-Hui Chen , Ying司 Chou Lee and I Chiu Li ao
eel aquaculture has been a subject of interest to researchers as well as the industry. ßased on the Taiwanese aquacultural experience , successful artificial propagation is a key factor in the industry's development and growth (Liao , 1993). In the case of eel , the first country to make a breakthrough in larval rearing will make a great improvement in its competitiveness (Table 3). Once successfullarval rearing is achieved , the value of DRC indices will be altered as the seed prices change (10%-90%). The DRC indices will become 0.77-0.35 , 0.50-0.29 , and 1.150.52 in Taiwan , China , and Japan , respectively , which would be lower than their current DRC indices of 0.90 , 0.55 , and 1.35. The impact of successful larval rearing on the competitiveness of the eel aquacul圖 ture in Japan would be greater than that in Taiwan and China. Due to environmental and cl imatic limitations , the Japanese eel farmers have to stock glass eels and elvers earlier than in Taiwan and China. Therefore , Japanese farmers pay more for glass eels and elvers , which increase their production costs and , consequently , reduces their competitiveness (Table 4). Through artificial propagation , their domestic glass eel supply could be stabilized , th us avoiding the importation of expensive glass eels and elvers and ultimately elevating its competitiveTable 4. Eel production cost in Taiwan , Japan , and China , 1990-1999 Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Unit: US $/kg China 7.00 8.36 8.4 2 10.62 11.34 11.72 10.52 9.61 11.30 6.09
ness in the Japanese eel market. This scenario is similarly being foreseen by some expe巾 in Japan (Satoh et al. , 2001 ). In the past , Taiwan possessed a much beUer eel aquaculture production technology and produced beUer quality product than China. The high quality eel products from Taiwan commanded a beUer price that compensates for its higher production cost (Chou and Lee , 1993). Taiwanese businessmen can now establish business in China more freely. Many of them not only invest in feed plants , eel processing plants , and eel aquacultu 舟， but also share the Taiwanese experiences , capital , and even the technologies , which effectively improve the quality of the Chinese eel products The Chinese eel aquaculture has had a great leap since 1993. It abated Taiwan as the most competitive Asian country in the eel aquaculture. In 1999 , the total eel production in China amounted to 130 ,000-140 ,000 mt , and their exports reached 97 ,000 mt (Liu , 1999; Lin, 2000). China not only earned foreign exchanges of as much as 750 million U.S. dollars , but simultaneously improved its economy in the rural communities. In recent years , the quality of eel produced in China is similar to or even beUer than that produced in Taiwan . Therefore , if China takes the lead in larval rearing , combined with its rich natural resources and cheap labor cost , the Chinese eel aquaculture would have the absolute advantage in the Japanese eel market. The above conclusion was based upon the assumption that the eel larval rearing technology will not be disseminated. In reality , however, it is inevitable that others may eventually catch up. When either Taiwan , China or Japan , individually succeeds in developing the technology , their DRC indices will significantly decrease, assuming the seed price drops to at least 40%. If the seed price of eel is reduced to 80% which is similar to other species where larval rearing technology is fully developed , the DRC indices would further
Impact of Successful Larval Rearing on the Competitiveness
decline to a low 0.38 , 0.30 , and 0.56 for Taiwan , China , and Japan , respectively. Under this situation , the order of competitiveness for Taiwan , Japan , and China remains unchanged. Europe is another important area as far as eel aquaculture production and consumption are concerned. The major eel species cultured in Europe is Anguilla anguilla (European eel). Currently , the seed price for the European eel is lower than that of the Japanese ee l. A considerable quantity of European eel elvers is sold to Asia , especially to China. The European countries are trying to impose some export control to stop the unlimited export of elvers to Asia (Raymonde , 2001). On the other hand , China intensely expo付s its eel products to the European market that causes the It is decline of eel price in Europe. possible that the success in larval rearing of the Japanese eel would have a significant impact on the European eel market. Evaluations of this impact could be taken in a future research. Based on the findings of this study , we recommend to accelerate the research on eel larval rearing techniques , by integrating the current funding , labor force and information , and inviting more researchers to work on breeding , genetic engineering , and biochemistry. The government should prioritize this research and encourage both private and governmental research institutes to devote more e仟o付s.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors thank D r. Hsi-Huang Chen (Department of Agricultural Economics , National Taiwan University , Taiwan) and D r. Chi幽Reng Chen (Council of Agriculture , Executive Yuan , Taiwan) for the guidance on modeling , Dr. Chang-Tai Shih , Josephine N. Nocillado (Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute , Taiwan) and Ms. Chiung-Hsia Wang (Department of Agricultural E∞nom惱， National Taiwan University, Taiwan) for their constructive comments of an earlier
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Impact of Successful Larval Rearing on the Competitiveness