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Cold front Caution

TAIPEI - Council of Agriculture officials are advising livestock producers to take extra precautions to deal with plummeting temperatures.

Aquaculture experts reminded farmers, though, that milkfish may die from sharp fluctuations in temperature and advised them to take precautionary measures. They also suggested that farmers closely monitor water quality to prevent any contamination.

Fish raised by Chiayi aquaculture farmers, especially milkfish, giant sea perch, and Taiwan tilapia, are susceptible to frostbite or freezing to death when temperatures drop below 10 degrees C, the sources said.

Some Chiayi fish farmers have been taking measures to prevent their fish from being harmed by the cold, setting up windproof walls, digging ditches, channeling warm water into their farms, or even harvesting the fish prematurely.

Others have opted against premature harvesting, however, hoping to hold on until the Chinese Lunar New Year season when they can sell their catches for higher profits.

The temperatures continue to fall in Taiwan, with the lowest mercury readings ranging from only two degrees Celsius on the 2,600-meter Alishan (Mt. Ali) in southwestern Chiayi to 10 degrees in the south.

The mercury also dropped to only 8.5 degrees in the Danshui area in Taipei County.

The Central Weather Bureau officials said the weather will remain cold today and the next two days with temperatures fluctuating between 10 and 15 degrees in the north, seven and 20 degrees in central Taiwan, and 11 to 24 in the southern parts of the island. The conditions have already claimed 26 lives.