Taiwan is well known for its high potential for aquatic production due to the diversity and abundance of its aquatic resource. There are over 100 species used for aquaculture in Taiwan. However, the indigneous resources are threatened with a combination of many factors such as over-fishing, illegal fishing, pollution of water resources, deterioration of habitats, invasion of exotic species, and introgression of hatchery stocks on wild populations. Thus, an aquatic genetic resources center has been planned since 1990. Recently, the project has been coordinated by the Taiwan Fisheries Research Institue. About NT$1780.8 million was requested to initiate the construction and operation of the facilities. Five main sub-centers (Lukang, Tainan, Tungkang, Taitung, Penghu subcenter) were designed to conserve freshwater finfishes, marine finfishes, marine crustaceans, live foods and seaweed.
At present, aquatic gentic resources conservation in Taiwan includes ex-situ conservation, such as:
1. finfish and shellfish broodstock maintenance and artificial propagation, collection and culture of live foods (microalgae, rotifers, copepods) and harmful marine microalgae;
2. preservation of economically important marine macroalgae;
3. sperm cryopreservation (finfish, oyster, abalone);
in-situ conservation, such as
a. induced breeding and ranching of landlocked salmon and restoration of their habitats;
b. coral reef and aquatic organism restoration in southern Taiwan.
Genetic information of several fish and shellfish using molecular biotechnology such as analysis of mitochondrial DNA (grouper, Scylla crab, oyster, eel, shark), genomic DNA (macroalgae Caulerpa) and microsatellite DNA (catfish Clarias fuscus, Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus), and isozyme electrophoresis (sea bream, salmon, grey mullet) has been established. Nevertheless, genetic information is still inadequate and biological information from different geographic populations of each aquatic species is still limited.