每日英語跟讀 Ep.K046: Cold snap devastates fish farms in Yunlin County
Despite the temperature rising to a high of 23 degrees Celsius on Jan. 3, the cold snap continues to inflict heavy losses on Yunlin County’s milkfish farming industry. As of Jan. 3, the bitter weather had frozen to death or inflicted frostbite on more than 190,000 milkfish on the county’s fish farms, which accounts for 50 percent of the farms’ milkfish population.
Yunlin County Agriculture Department Deputy Director Tsai Keng-yu said that, as of 4pm on Jan. 3, cold-damage data provided by the relevant public bodies showed that Taisi Township was the worst affected, with 700 hectares of farm affected and 140,000 fish dead or injured, or approximately 60 percent of fish population lost. About 300 hectares of fish farms in Sihhu, Kouhu and Mailiao townships had been damaged, which equates to about 50,000 fish, or 30 percent of the local farms’ fish stocks. The entire county had lost 190,000 fish, but the death toll could rise further as some fish farmers had not yet finished dredging their ponds.
A fish farmer surnamed Ting from Taisi Township said he was breeding approximately 1,500 milkfish on his fish farm and had been raising them for over one year. Ting said the cold snap had almost completely wiped out his fish. Furthermore, because milkfish are “working fish” reared within a clam pond polyculture, and are therefore not the fish farms’ primary breed species, it will be difficult to quantify the extent of the losses. However, what is certain is that without the assistance of the milkfish chomping through algae and other surface growth, farm owners would have to regularly carry out manual dredging of their ponds. As well as significantly increasing their workload, this could also result in a reduction of the water quality, which might kill the clams and cause more than NT$1 million in losses.
Another fish farmer, surnamed Yao, said that he had turned his fish pond’s waterwheel up to full speed during the cold weather, which, in addition to groundwater percolation, meant that only a little over 100 of his fish perished. However, Yao said that those fish lucky enough to survive were a ghost of their former selves, exhibiting much-reduced energy levels. “If we get another cold snap, they might not be able to survive. All I can do is wait and pray,” said Yao.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/01/10/2003750262
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