01 July 2013

Are there dead fishes at Mandai mangroves?

Andy Dinesh blogged about lots of dead fish at Sungei Buloh and Lim Chu Kang. Did this happen at Mandai mangroves too?
Today was the first chance I got to check it out on a beautiful haze-free day. Although I didn't see any dead fishes, I saw many freshly fallen large trees, and I didn't see any Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii)!


On Saturday, Andy saw lots of fishes that looked like mullets or milkfish from fishfarms in the Johor Strait. He said "These pics are from the Mangrove Boardwalk area. Apparently, the dead fish started appearing on Friday and SBWR staff had cleared what they could reach but there was just too many dead fish coming in from the coast with each incoming tide."
Photo by Andy Dinesh.
Sungei Mandai Besar is a lovely sandy stream and at low tide, is the easiest way to walk quickly from one part of the mangrove to another.
The water in the sandy stream is clear!
There were lots of little fishes and large ones too in the stream. But I didn't see any dead fishes. Not floating in the water or washed up on the shores.
I stopped by a patch of Critically Endangered Limau Lelang (Merope angulata) and it seems to be doing fine with some flowers.
There were several patches of Critically Endangered climbing Kalak kambing (Finlaysonia obovata) draped in the mangroves. I didn't see any flowers or fruits.
The Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) trees were blooming and producing propagules!
Sadly, I saw many huge trees that have recently fallen. This tree fell over and broke as it hit another large Rhizophora.
A small fridge was stuck in this fallen tree. Oh dear.
I also saw a huge tree that has fallen over Sungei Mandai Besar near the factories at Kranji.
The big tree that fell over (yellow arrow), seems to also have killed another tree on the other side of the stream (orange arrow).
Erosion is undercutting this large tree at the banks of the Sungei. Erosion is probably one reason why these large trees are falling over in Mandai. Erosion is a serious problem for mangroves all along the Northern shoreline including Sungei Buloh.
I noticed lots of seedlings sprouting in some parts of the mudflats. But I didn't see any Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) that is usually so thick especially among the seedlings. Hopefully, they are just 'resting' during this hot season?
I walked about halfway to the mouth of the Sungei. With Johor Baru on the horizon, the mudflats are bristling with young saplings, some of them quite tall.
A look at the saplings. Once again, I didn't see any Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii).
I didn't cover all of Mandai mangroves so I'm not sure if there are dead fish at the mouth of Sungei Mandai Besar. Fortunately, the Mandai mangroves are constantly being studied (like these I saw on my last trip to Mandai in Feb 2013) so hopefully scientists can keep an eye on the situation here.

It is disturbing to hear about all the dead fishes at Sungei Buloh and Lim Chu Kang. I agree with Andy that if these fishes were dumped by fish farms something should be done to stop them from doing so. Such short-sighted practices not only degrades the water quality for the natural environment, but also the water that the fish farms rely on for their fish sold as food to Singaporeans!


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