If there is something special about Koi fish that will shock you is their worth. Koi fish are among the most expensive pet fish in the world, currently valued at approximately $2.2 million. They are members of the Carp family and resemble an overgrown goldfish.
The rice farmers in Japan are associated with the raising of Koi fish since the 1700s. The farmers were striving to breed them into different patterns and colors just as we breed pets with specific traits. Koi fish breeding later became a productive activity among the Japanese, making its prices exorbitantly high.
For anything to have an asking price of millions of dollars, the question you need an answer to is: why are Koi fish so expensive yet they are pets? Well, here are a few reasons to explain the cost.
Few eggs hatch into high-quality Koi
Most people are interested in high-quality Koi fish. From a population of millions of Koi, only a small percentage forms the quality ones. Since the quality Koi are the ones that make it to the market, they become expensive due to the low supply and high demand principle.
According to Cool Fish Network, Koi lays a million eggs. Out of the million eggs, only 60% hatch and that is not a reason for a fish farmer to celebrate. Sadly, among the 600,000 baby Koi, most of them have a possibility of encountering deformities. The result of it is baby koi with abnormal gill covers, missing fans, and other issues.
The farmer will cull this group with deformities from the group. He will then choose the youngsters that will likely develop to a desirable coloration, and sell those that do not fit this group at throwaway prices.
The remaining group that is left to grow will comprise of very few Koi. At this point, out of the million eggs hatched, only hundreds of quality Koi will remain. Time and money spent in raising the fish will determine its price. Most of the breeders will set the price high since they also want to make some profit. The supply of the fish now takes us to the next point explaining why Koi fish is expensive, the dealers.
The dealers are experts
Koi dealers are not just ordinary people that you meet on your way to buy Koi fish. They are experts who know the best quality Koi and where such best varieties exist. They travel to countries that produce Koi fish and sample out the best from the breeders so that they can sell it to the buyers in their countries.
They are always keen in all aspects of the variety that they wish to purchase, and due to their experience, they quickly identify quality Koi. Most of them are dedicated and have a good relationship with breeders since they have been doing business for long.
The dealers who know the breeders well get the quality Koi on the spot. The dealers will then have to compensate for the cost of traveling and the difficult task of getting the best Koi fish. So when you are buying fish from these dealers, you will pay for their expertise and time. The dealers also have bills to pay, and they source as much income as possible from the Koi fish buyers. Once the dealers select the best Koi fish, they distribute them to the consumers, and this brings us to another point of the logistic costs involved.
Shipping cost, custom duty, and license
It is not easy for good quality Koi to get out of Japan and arrive in the United States as it involves many costs. Fish transportation is through water, and hence it requires experts to transport it. According to Kodama Koi Farm, the shipping cost of one Koi is approximately $41.5. Since a buyer will not buy one Koi, when you sum the totals of transporting, the amount incurred in shipping is high.
Once the Koi fish arrive in the USA, there is a customs duty paid to the federal government for the imported goods. The traders also have to get a license from the government to participate in the trade of Koi fish.
The license fee for a Koi fish business is set high by the government. The shipping cost, custom duty, and license fee are all included in the price of Koi fish. Such charges are the reasons why buying them will give you a run for your money. When the buyer wishes to sell the fish in the future, they will consider the maintenance cost and include it in the selling price, making it even higher.
The regular competitions to get the best Koi
Another reason for the high cost of Koi is the regular competitions held to get the best Koi. In these competitions, the fish with the best shape and color becomes the winner, and the owner receives a reward. Thirteen popular varieties participate in these competitions, and three of them have been winning the competitions for so long.
The tournaments are becoming popular, and many people wish to participate hence have to get the best quality Koi fish for the same. These competitions increase the demand for high-quality Koi fish. When the demand is higher than the supply, then dealers hike prices since most buyers are willing to part with any amount of money.
Optimal conditions for raising Koi
If raising Koi fish can be a good source of income, then why are people not breeding them all over the world? The answer is the conditions for the survival of these fish. Japan has the optimal conditions for the growth and development of Koi compared to other countries.
When we consider climate as a factor, then many states have an environment similar to that of Japan. The specialization aspect now comes in since Japan invests in the breeding of Koi fish. Since few places meet the optimal conditions, the supply is lower than the demand; hence, the prices become high.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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