24 February 2009

BIG fish at Pulau Semakau - photos finally

"It was THIS big!" the boys exclaimed with outstretched arms, describing the fish they encountered in the seagrass meadows.

I am generally skeptical of male allegations of length. The males of our species have a tendency towards inflation, I find.

So it was good to finally have proof with Alvin's photos of the BIG fish, uploaded to his facebook.

The fish was encountered by Andy and Alvin during TeamSeagrass monitoring at Pulau Semakau's vast seagrass meadows.
Yes, it was THAT big, about 80cm long. The long measuring tape used by TeamSeagrass came in handy to show, without a doubt, that it was BIG. (The boys in their accounts say it's 90cm. But to me it looks more like 80cm, even if we include the tippy tips of its tail. What do you think?).

Kevin also shared some photos of the fish on his Nature Spies blog.

Andy uploaded several video clips of the fish on his sgbeachbum blog. Andy says "It must have been caught in the shallows because of a 200m long net stretching across most of the seagrass lagoon. It was gasping for air when I got to it."

Eventually, Andy carried the fish and released it at the reef edge, where it swam away into deeper waters.
Here's Alvin's photo of Andy bringing the fish into deeper water. The next day, Eric Leong looked at the photo and said it was a Queenfish.

Driftnets are laid by fishermen in the seagrass meadows of Pulau Semakau very regularly. We encounter these nets on almost every trip to this shore.
Here's one that we saw when we visited in Mar 08.
The guy who laid the net showed us what he caught.

During a trip in Dec 08, there was an entire sampan stranded in the seagrass meadow.
They had laid out a very long drift net in the seagrasses too.
These drift nets not only kill all kinds of animals which are unwanted by the fishermen and later thrown away.

They may also entangle sea turtles. Sea turtles breathe air and will drown if trapped in a drift net. And sea turtles were sighted just this month at Pulau Semakau! The mantablog reported three seen near Terumbu Semakau, and I saw one in the channel between Terumbu Raya and Pulau Semakau.

Please do not cut up freshly laid drift nets that you see on the shore. The fisherman will then just abandon the net which is even worse as the net will continually kill all marinelife indiscriminately until it is removed.

Drift net use and abandonment is one of the most heartbreaking problems on our shores.

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