09 March 2015

Update on mass fish death at Lim Chu Kang

Dead fishes are being cleaned up at Lim Chu Kang Jetty this morning.
I didn't see many freshly dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang or at Sungei Buloh. Are the mass fish deaths in the northwest coming to an end? I hope so, but alas, recent rains and upcoming neap tides suggest the danger is not yet over.

A small team were clearing up the dead fishes that washed up here last night. And possibly also the day before.
Here's a video clip of their clean up.
I headed out deeper towards the mangroves where the hardworking guys had not yet reached. They told me they had been at it for 2  hours already. Here, there were still dead fishes on the high water line.
Here's a video clip of the situation there.
Some large catfishes.
Many smaller fishes that look like they have been dead for a day or two.
Some look recently dead though, with fins and eyes still attached.
More dead fishes, both wild and farmed.
They were also clearing up the litter that thickly carpet the high shores in the mangroves near the Jetty.
Much of the large trash at Lim Chu Kang look like they have come from fish farms: large blue drums, large containers of industrial fluids, large bags and right in the middle of this photo, a small refrigerator.
Meanwhile, at the Jetty, a huge pile of brand new blue drums are being transported out, probably to a fish farm.
There are only a few large dead fishes on the low water mark.
Near the jetty itself, an assortment of dead fishes.
As I arrived at around 10am, so did vehicles belonging to AVA.
Also a vehicle from NEA. I was very heartened to hear that Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources has weighed in on the issue as reported in the media yesterday. Mass fish deaths are a reflection of water quality and have impact on public cleanliness and health.
Of course a vehicle of Veolia, the people cleaning up the dead fishes and trash from the shores.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

I made a brief stop at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension. There were only a scattering of dead fishes and most do not look recently dead.
In the incoming tide, only a few small dead fishes that do not look like fresh kills.
There's still plenty of life in the mangroves. Like this busy sandpiper foraging along the water line.
There were also many Giant mudskippers.
A pretty woodpecker happened to land on a dead tree right in front of me!
At the Main Bridge, there were virtually no dead fishes. And finally, I saw some Halfbeaks. But I still didn't see any Archerfishes.

Are the mass fish deaths in the northwest coming to an end?

I hope these sightings today means that the mass deaths are tapering off. But alas, I fear things may get worse before it finally ends.

First, we have been having a series of heavy downpours in the northwest. After a dry spell, all that rain will wash all manner of built up stuff down into the coast. The un-dammed water courses in the northwest pass through many farms which directly dispose of their effluents into these drainage systems.

Second, in a few days' time, we will be experiencing neap tides. During this period, the difference between the high and low tides are minimal which means there is less tidal flushing. More about the tides in Singapore.

Such conditions of increased nutrient inflow and low water exchange can create conditions that are favourable for situations that result in mass fish deaths. More in this old post and more about red tides.

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.

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