26 March 2012

Sunday with good net and bad net

A small team is back to remove more nets at the same spot on Pulau Ubin that we did in Dec 2011. Although it was good to see that there were no new nets in the area we cleared, there are still lots of nets just a few steps further down.
Andy, Marcus and Hussain working along
the same net entwined around mangrove roots.
Earlier in the day, I had a great time at the talk on using the internet for nature outreach.

It was a delight to share and learn from a small group who came for the discussion. It was organised for Hjh Masnah and Rafhiah from Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam who are here on attachment with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and NParks. I was glad so many active nature bloggers also made the time to come and share ideas and discuss the issues!
Among them, Mr Tang Hung Bun, author of the guidebook on Dragonflies and Damselflies of Singapore who has an awesome website of these delightful animals; Ivan Kwan who writes the Lazy Lizard's Tales blog and morbidly fascinating Monday Morgue blog and shared as an active twitter user about this resource; Jocelyne Sze who writes the Nature Rambles blog; Sean Yap who shares on the Nature in a Concrete Jungle blog. It was also great to have Noor Asmaliza and her friend share their experiences with internet outreach in Malaysia and Indonesia! And Cheryl Koh who raised the important question of how to reach out to those who might not read nature blogs or websites. We agreed the main stream media is still an important channel for this, while internet resources can help provide more indepth information for those who want to know more. Many other issues were raised and continued over lunch, which I couldn't join as I headed off for a field trip. Thanks to Linda and Jocelyne for arranging the venue and making possible this delightful exchange!

At Ubin, the small team from Project Driftnet came across a very long net is deeply entwined among mangrove roots along this stretch.The net is quite badly embedded among the roots, so it's back breaking work.
Oh no, a small crab (4.5cm body width) is stuck in one of the nets. I managed to get it free and it was fine. It had all its limbs so it was probably only recently entangled in it. Abandoned nets continuously trap and kill all kinds of animals until they are removed. Fortunately, we did not find any other animals live or dead in the rest of the nets that we removed.
Hussain also worked hard on this batch of thick nets that are not used for catching fish but are used in fish farms to form their floating cages.
The net has been here for so long that the mangrove roots have grown through them. We saw a similar situation in large nets at Kranji Nature Trail in Mar 2011.
Being of weak back, I headed further down the shore to deal with nets that are easier to remove. I found this longer stretch of nets under a very prickly tree.
I crept under the thorny bush, got comfy and started gnawing at the net with my little $1 kindergarten scissors. Which actually work very well.
Photo by Andy Dinesh
After I managed to cut through most of the net, Marcus gives the net a good tug and hurray, it's free to be removed. Andy is taking photos of what is going on.
There is still a humungous net entwined around this abandoned rotting boat. We had not time to remove it so Hussain is mobilising a team to do it possibly later this week. Hurray!
We also get some data about the nets. Measuring the mesh size and total volume of nets.
Andy took photos of the nets and shared these photos. There were about 5 pile of nets, each about 60cm x 50cm x 25cm in volume. A total of about 3.75 cubic metres of net!
There are some nets made of monofilament plastic with a mesh size of about 4-5cm while some were larger, about 10cm. There were some nets made of a woven fibre which seems to be made up of several layers, with a very large mesh size of about 20cm and another layer of tiny mesh size of 2-4cm. There were also thicker nets probably used in the cages on fish farms.
Photos by Andy Dinesh
Here's the small team with the huge haul of nets! I think the men pulled out nearly their body volume in nets!
Thanks to Hussain, Andy and Marcus for coming for this trip! Hussain will be looking at the data we have been collecting this past year. His research on this issue locally and globally will help us better understand and hopefully manage this heartbreaking issue on our shores. This trip has been funded from the generous donation by Aardwolf Pestkare as part of their very kind project to feature wildsingapore photos on their 2012 calendar.

More about this trip on the Project Driftnet blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ria for your sharing on the talks. I learn something new. :) Now I know the choice of the media we can use is depends on the circumstances of the audience and the purpose.

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