Dr Truong Si Ky is one of Vietnam's leading marine biologists but is known more simply as the country's 'Grandfather of the Seahorses'. In an old French villa overlooking the coastal resort of Nha Trang, he has toiled for four years researching the breeding in captivity of the tiny, extremely rare creatures. So far he has successfully mated them in tanks that bubble away in Vietnam's Institute of Oceanography - a world first. But problems persist. Next month, Dr Ky will make his first trip to Hong Kong to share his experiences at a conference on the marine life of the South China Sea at Hong Kong University, chaired by Professor Brian Morton, director of the Swire Institute of Marine Science. What's on your mind? As with every day over the past four years, seahorses are my priority. They have always fascinated me, but I still have a lot of work to do. I'm concentrating on finishing my paper to be presented at the conference in Hong Kong, and I hope there will be a lot of interest in it. Seahorses are very rare and mysterious. They're also a very valuable commodity. In Hong Kong I've heard that, dried, they sell in the markets for US$1,200 (HK$9,270) a kilogram. They're supposed to be good for the health - especially for men! So you must be very rich now you can get the seahorses to mate? No, no, no. There are many problems. Unlike in other places, the mating is no problem for us here at the institute. We take a lot of care. The male and female wrap themselves up tightly in the darkness, and the eggs are transferred into the pouch of the male. They separate and, after 10 days, as many as a 1,000 tiny fry swim from the male's pouch. But the trouble is we can't get them to live longer than three months, and that's no good. The problem seems to be the food. So the babies must eat a lot then? They seem to. We grow a special algae we imported from Brazil. But we never seem to have enough. We're now building big concrete ponds for the algae, so maybe in one more year we will be lucky. We only need to keep them alive for three months more and they will be 12 centimetres long - that's big enough for the market. And then, fortune? Not for me! I do this for the farmers of Vietnam. It will all be for them. It's my dream for them to become rich, growing seahorses in the same ponds they use for their prawns. That would be great for Vietnam.