Singapore is a small island country with limited land for agricultural purposes and restricted sea waters available for fish farming. However, the ornamental fish industry of Singapore is quite unique and successful, being the world No. 1 exporter of ornamental fish, selling over 1 000 fish species to over 80 countries and generating an annual revenue of USD 43 million in 2016. Its success is mainly thanks to its specific capabilities in licensing, biosecurity controls, culturing, packing, transporting and disease control. Efforts are being made to breed and domesticate many of the high-value marine species and new freshwater species and to develop novel reciculating culture systems. Upstream research has focused on developing and using genomic tools to breed new varieties and to maintain genetic diversity in the wild. However, due to limited space for culturing fish and strong competitions from neighbouring countries, Singapore’s ornamental fish industry is facing many challenges, and its market share is reducing. In this review, we will summarize the status and development of Singapore’s ornamental fish industry, discuss its challenges and make some suggestions for maintaining the leading position of the industry.
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