Tons of dead fish wash up on Taiwan beaches

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Tons of fish, from carp to exotic tropical specimens, have washed up dead along 320 km of beach on Taiwan’s outlying islands because of cold temperatures, a local official said on Friday.

About 45 tons of fish, some wild and some farmed, appeared on the tourism-dependent Penghu Island archipelago in the Taiwan Strait from February 14 following a cold snap, county environmental staffer Hsu Ching-fang said.

Local media said on Friday that 10 times that amount of dead fish was still in the water, adding it was the worst mass killing off Penghu in 30 years.

“Every beach in Penghu has been hit with fish in varying amounts,” Hsu said. “This is something we haven’t seen before.”

Temperatures dipped below 9 degrees Celsius for three days in early February, unusually low for subtropical Penghu.

That weather came along with snow storms in nearby China.

Government agencies have allocated T$1.06 million ($34,000) for daily beach cleanups, Hsu said.

Tourists can still use the beaches, which are normally known for their windswept expanses of white sand and offshore coral.

Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Ken Wills