TILAPIA is considered as Taiwan’s National Fish. It is tops in terms of volume of production and area devoted for growing the fish. Tilapia is also No.1 in terms of fish export from Taiwan.
But tilapia is not just for eating. If you visit the Taiwan Tilapia Ecological and Creative Park in Kouhu township in Yunlin County, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that there are valuable products derived from the fish. One of them is collagen extracted from tilapia fish scales.We visited the place on June 14, 2017.
The literature from the ecological park explains that: “Collagen is a kind of protein. About 30-40 percent that forms our body is collagen, an important element to maintain the balance of our health.”
The collagen extracted from tilapia fish scales is drinkable. It is packed in 15 ml bottles and is consumed at one bottle per day preferably before meals or on an empty stomach. A gift pack of 16 bottles costs NT$6,000 equivalent to P10,800 in Philippine money.
The collagen can also be used for facial care. It is diluted with a small amount of water before applying on the skin.
Another new product being developed at the Ecological Park is a corneal shield for the eyes, also derived from fish scales. The product is now being tested on test animals like rabbits.
Some people may have difficulty imagining that tilapia skin can actually be an excellent material for making bags, belts and other male and female accessories. The Ecological Park has what it calls Tilapia Leather Series.
Another is Beauty Care Series that includes skin moisturizers. In the Collagen Fabric Series, collagen is applied to fabrics to come up with anti-UV, static electricity resistant fabrics, and skin protection fabrics.
The Tilapia Ecological and Creative Park which was established in 2015 has become a tourist destination with six Theme Areas.
Area A consists of assorted seafood shop where visitors can buy packs of top-selling seafoods – both frozen and fresh prepared seafoods.Area B is the Savory Kitchen. Here the visitor can experience cooking different tilapia preparations.
Area C is the Food-Tasting Room. While tasting the delicious tilapia dishes, the visitors also learn how a poor, primitive fishery village like Kouhu was turned into the Taiwan Tilapia Ecological and Creative Park. Area D is the Tilapia Creative Park. And Area E is the Collagen Beauty Formula. The Taiwan Tilapia Ecological and Creative Park is a project of the Kouhu Fisheries Cooperative based in the township of Kouhu in Yunlin County. It is the brainchild of Wang Yifeng whose family has been in the fishery business for many years. After graduating from college, he returned to his home village and took over management of the business. His innovative ideas have resulted in the new products derived from tilapia.
His company, continues to produce processed tilapia products for local sales as well as for export. Every day, the company processes three tons of tilapia. Taiwan tilapia produced in Kouhu are cultured under very sanitary environment. The fish are free of heavy metals and chemical residues.