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Plague wipes out redclaw crayfish larvae
Central News Agency
2014-02-25 11:23 PM
Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Redclaw crayfish aquaculturists in Miaoli County have suffered great losses as all the larvae they had purchased died before reaching maturity due to a crayfish plague, the Miaoli county government said Tuesday. The county's Animal Health Inspection and Quarantine Institute said it started to inspect samples taken from three ponds in Kungkuan and Touwu townships in November, and started a probe. It noted that the three ponds bought 114,500 crayfish larvae from dealers in Pingtung and Changhua counties last year, but all had died by the end of December due to the plague. It takes about five months for redclaw crayfish to grow to the market-ready size of one catty -- 600 grams -- the institute said.

Miaoli county government officials noted that redclaw crayfish are illegal imports, so that they are unable to estimate the exact number of the animals in the county. The Animal Health Research Institute under the Council of Agriculture said the plague will only spread among the redclaw crayfish and will not infect white shrimps or giant tiger prawns, which are other commonly cultivated crustaceans. The disease will also not affect people. However the spread among redclaw crayfish is serious, with a mortality rate of 100 percent in between five and 50 days after being infected. Taiwan reported the outbreak to the World Organisation for Animal Health Feb. 18. (By Kuang Jui-ping and Lilian Wu)

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