16 October 2014

Any dead fishes on Singapore's northern shores?

Two farms in Lim Chu Kang lost about 60 tonnes of fish to a marine bacteria, Vibrio said Singapore Marine Aquaculture Cooperative Chairman Phillip Lim to Channel NewsAsia. His own farm has also been affected. "I started with 8,000 fish. I'm only left with 200 to 300-plus fish," he said.
Screen capture from Channel 8 news 15 Oct 14
Is Vibrio dangerous to humans? Did any of these dead fishes wash up on Singapore's northern shores? We had a quick look last night and today.


According to Phillip Lim, the infection was discovered when they sent samples to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for examination. Channel NewsAsia reports "While dead fish are disposed of, those still alive are sold at local markets."
Screen capture from Channel 8 news 15 Oct 14

Is Vibrio dangerous to humans? Yes!

While we may not be familiar with the word 'Vibrio', I think many of us know the disease cholera.

According to Wikipedia:
"Several species of Vibrio are pathogens. Most disease-causing strains are associated with gastroenteritis, but can also infect open wounds and cause septicemia. They can be carried by numerous marine animals, such as crabs or prawns, and have been known to cause fatal infections in humans during exposure.

Pathogenic Vibrio species include V. cholerae (the causative agent of cholera), V. parahaemolyticus, and V. vulnificus. V. cholerae is generally transmitted by contaminated water. Pathogenic Vibrio species can cause foodborne illness (infection), usually associated with eating undercooked seafood."

Where are the fish farms at Lim Chu Kang?

There are about 60 floating fish farms near Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Buloh. These are all licenced by AVA who ostensibly regulate farming practices. The yellow line along the Johor Strait is the international boundary between Singapore and Malaysia.

Did any of these dead fishes wash up at Lim Chu Kang?

I headed for Lim Chu Kang jetty as soon as I heard the news. The road really does end abruptly here so it's important to watch out, in the dark!
I saw a handful of dead fishes along the short 10m stretch that I checked of the shore.
Some of the fishes looked recently dead.
Others looked like they were dead for a day or so, eye missing.
These look similar to the hundreds of dead fishes that floated up at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Buloh last year.
This shore had a lot of litter. Some of the large litter like blue drums and basket, look like the equipment used at the coastal fish farms.
There were large plastic bags as well as gunny sacks and sacks that used to contain large amounts of rice or sugar.
A large tank and a smaller bin is provided at the jetty for use by the coastal fish farms who have to bring their trash back to the mainland. They are not provided daily door-to-door trash collection.
The large tank was almost full of bagged trash. I couldn't smell any dead fishes or any other bad smells from the tank.
This shore now has a "Trespasses will be Arrested" sign. But it seems everyone is ignoring it. There is a shrine right behind the sign and lots of chairs around it.
There was a man and later heard his friends, preparing a fish net on the shore. They later headed eastward into the mangroves and mudflats.

Did any of these dead fishes wash up at Sungei Buloh?
I visited Sungei Buloh this afternoon, and I didn't see any dead fishes at all. In fact, the mangroves looked very clean with almost no trash.
The fish farms in the photos above are pointed out in the blue arrows in the Google Earth screen shot below. The yellow line is the route I walked today.
I checked for wild fishes under the Main Bridge, and could only see lots and lots of Halfbeaks. I didn't see any Archerfishes or other kinds of wild fishes. I met some visitors who said they spotted the crocodile.
Besides animals, this shoreline also has an important tree growing here. This is Tumu Berau a 'Critically Endangered' tree which was considered extinct until a tree was rediscovered in 2005.
It was nice to come across a Water monitor lizard. Sean Yap is doing a project on this so if you spot one, please share it on his study form tinyurl.com/monitorlizards

Did any of these dead fishes wash up at Pasir Ris?

A check was made last night, and no dead fishes were seen at Pasir Ris beach. Here's an overview of the floating fish farms near Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris Park.


Let's hope the lack of dead fishes washing up on the shores means that dead fishes are being properly disposed instead of simply tossed into the sea.

Dead Fish Alert!

Please help me monitor dead fishes washing up on the Johor Straits. Please let me know if you see  large numbers (more than 10) especially of large dead fishes (more than 20cm long) washing up on the northern shores such as Pulau Ubin, Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh, Kranji, Sembawang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Changi.

Thank you!

Posts about sightings of dead fishes washing up in 2014
Fish farm trash on our shores


Media reports


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