06 March 2015

Distressed and dead fishes at Sungei Buloh

Dead wild fishes small and large continue to be seen at Sungei Buloh. I also saw some distressed fishes.
These Spotted scat were gasping at the water surface. Although I've seen these and other fishes do this at Sungei Buloh at low tide, this happened during the high incoming tide.


This very large catfish (about 60cm long) was resting along the rock bund near the water surface.
I saw a fast swimming animal (about 40cm long) that looked at first glance like a needlefish swimming at the surface. But a closer look revealed that it was a huge bristleworm!
I also saw a Scat gulping for air at the sluice gate near the Main Bridge.
From the Main Bridge, I saw this small sea catfish swimming near the surface. I didn't see any other fishes under the bridge.
It was distressing to see a dead halfbeak near the sluice gate at the Main Bridge.
Video clip of fishes in distress.
Video clip of dead fishes.

I walked along the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension from the Wetland Centre to Eagle Point during the incoming high tide. There continued to be about 10-15 dead fishes for every 5m of accumulated floating debris. Mostly wild fishes, small and large. I saw about 10 large fishes that were well decomposing, but most of the fishes I saw today appear 'freshly dead'. There was no strong stench, just the usual smell of drying dead fish near concentrations of dead fishes.
Fish A
Fish B
Fish C
Fish D: Pufferfish, 4 seen about 10cm long, wild.
Fish E: Tripodfish, 2 seen about 10cm long, wild
Fish G: Spotted sicklefish, 10 seen about 15cm long, wild.
Fish H: Spotted scat, 2 seen about 15cm long, wild.
Fish I: Tilapia, 3 seen about 15cm long, wild.
I didn't see any large dead sea catfishes yesterday, but today I saw several.
Fish J: Sea catfish, 4 seen, about 60cm long, wild.
Fish K: Flatfish? wild
Fish L: Milkfish or mullet, about 20cm long.

Fish M: Tilapia? wild.
But the Reserve was still very much alive! High tide is the best time to go crab watching. There were lots and lots of Tree climbing crabs clinging onto the trees to stay out of the water.
I also saw many Giant mudskippers.
And some Yellow-spotted mudskippers.
It appears to be the season for the Golden Orb-web spider. They were everywhere!
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a beautiful mangrove to explore. It is particularly scenic at high tide.
I stopped by at Lim Chu Kang Jetty. It's horrendously littered as usual, but I didn't see or smell any dead fishes. There was a burning smell though.
I also stopped by at Kranji Way, the spot where the Nature Society (Singapore) Marine Conservation Group does their horseshoe crab work. I didn't see or smell any dead fishes there.
There are another 60 or so fish farms located near Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. According to a media article, the fish farmers say they are not experiencing any farm fish deaths at the moment.

We are now in a spring tide period, although it is not a strong spring tide. The possibility of a bloom is higher during the neap tide period next week, when there is less water exchange.

Update on the East Johor Strait situation

AVA has finally come out to publicly share full details of the mass fish deaths. According to AVA, the bloom was caused by Karlodinium veneficumMedia articles here.

Update on Pasir Ris

Our regular reporter says: "Today looked back to usual between Api Api and Tampines though there was lots of sediments in the water. Couldn't see a thing in areas that are usually clear. "

[Update 7 Mar: Sean Yap shared - "Pasir ris shore update - 6 Mar 2015, 10:45PM. Not a single carcass! Things looking good for now, hope it stays that way."]

Update on Changi Point

[Update 7 Mar: Xu Weiting shared - "Today (6 Mar), we didn't see any dead fishes on the shore near Changi Carpark 1. However, the seine did bring up a few fish carcass and they were covered with crabs. Also, the cleaners were also sweeping up any debris left by the high tide pretty fast. The cleaners did mention they still observed a few dead fishes in the morning but the volume has definitely decreased."]


You CAN make a difference: 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, Woodlands Waterfront, Sembawang, Punggol, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris, Changi.

There are too many shores for me to personally check, so I really appreciate any info or photos that you can share. Thank you!

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