Aquaculture losses from Typhoon Morakot worst in 18 years

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) Financial losses suffered by Taiwan's aquaculture sector as a result of Typhoon Morakot had increased to NT$2.91 billion (US$88.72 million) as of Tuesday, the worst on record for a single typhoon over the past 18 years, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Council of Agriculture (COA).
Fish farms with a combined area of 5,832 hectares were affected by the storm, with those in Tainan, Pingtung and Kaohsiung counties, as well as Tainan City, among the hardest-hit, the COA said.
In Pingtung's Jiadong and Linbian areas, for example, many grouper ponds have been swamped by severe flooding triggered by the typhoon, allowing the expensive fish to be washed away by the overflowing water, leaving rotting fish all over the place when the floodwater began to subside later that day.
Lin Yi-wei, a local fish farmer, estimated that the typhoon has caused at least NT$20 million in losses to every fish farm in Jiadong and Linbian.
Besides aquaculture losses, Typhoon Morakot has also led to crop losses totaling more than NT$2.78 billion around Taiwan, the COA said.
The COA statistics show that 49,723 hectares of farmland lost an average 27 percent of expected harvests, with the hardest-hit crops listed as papayas, guavas, bamboo shoots and leafy vegetables.
Livestock losses were valued at NT$737.59 million, with 80,815 hogs, 2.7 million chickens and 709,000 ducks killed, the COA said, adding that forestry losses were estimated at NT$16.35 million.
Meanwhile, an estimated NT$168.32 million in damage to agricultural facilities was reported, with, NT$17.14 million for livestock facilities, NT$144.6 million for aquaculture facilities and NT$66.32 million for farmland, according to the COA.
(By Y.F. Low)