Taiwanese fish farmers get help

In the wake of Typhoon Morakot, which caused Taiwan’s deadliest flooding in 50 years, the government has extended its offer of low-interest loans to ailing fish farmers.

The loans, which may be repaid in seven years at an interest rate of 1 percent, reduced from the original rate of 1.25 percent, is expected to help ease the damage to Taiwan’s fish farms, especially in Pingtung County, caused by the early August storm.

Loans will benefit grouper farmers the most, offering them an increase from TWD 1 million per hectare to TWD 8 million (USD 244,800, EUR 168,100); eel farmers, from TWD 1 million per hectare to TWD 5 million (USD 153,000, EUR 105,100); oyster farmers, from TWD 200,000 per hectare to TWD 300,000 (USD 9,179, EUR 6,304); and farmers of other fish species, from TWD 400,000 per hectare to TWD 2 million (USD 61,200, EUR 42,000).

Taiwan’s fish-farming regions, including Pingtung, Tainan and Kaohsiung counties, were among the hardest hit; many farmers lost as much as TWD 600,000 (USD 18,357, EUR 12,608) in shrimp and tilapia due to the storm.

The government is working to rebuild the TWD 90 million (USD 2.8 million, EUR 1.9 million) in damage caused by Morakot, hoping to restore the country’s flourishing aquaculture industry to normal by 2012.

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