09/18/2012 12:27 pm ET

International Goldfish Championship Goes Swimmingly For Contestants

Forget London, Paris and Milan. It was natural splendor versus inbred beauty in southeast China this past weekend, as things got wet and wild at the first-ever world goldfish beauty pageant.

It may sound fishy, but it's true.

Goldfish from 14 different countries from around the world competed for the title of "World Goldfish Queen" Saturday, at the inaugural International Goldfish Championship. Three thousand fish participated in the event, which was held in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China.

Unlike the top catwalks of the world (cats are a no-no at this event) there were no supermodels striking poses in outrageous fashions. At this event, goldfish strut their stuff in big white bowls of water. There is no need for gimmicky lighting or fancy runways either. These glamorous specimens were put on display in a large warehouse, much like the packaging plants where the lesser of their species often find themselves.

How exactly does a goldfish fish for compliments?

"We judge goldfish mainly by five criteria: breed, body shape, swimming gesture [and] color, which is very important and overall impression," Ye Qichang, a member of the judge panel, explained to ITN News.

Unlike your typical supermodel, BMIs are of little consequence. Here a beefier contestant is likely to attract more attention, as was the case with a 3.9-pound goldfish that caught Quichang's eye.

"I have been raising goldfish for some 40 or 50 years, and this one is the biggest I have ever seen ... Many factors such as breed and breeding method may affect their size. A goldfish cannot grow into that size if it suffers any hardship or major illness during the breeding. So it is a very rare one," the judge told ITN News.

According to, the judges will announce the winner on Saturday, at the Fuzhou Strait International Conference and Exhibition Center. In the meantime, many the goldfish likely have their gills resting on the rim of their bowls as they await the results. But, regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain -- the contestants will have plenty of fish tales to share with the folks at home.



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