30 December 2009

A closer look at dead fish found on Pasir Ris

While most of the dead fishes found at Pasir Ris were these fishes that look like groupers from the fish farm, there were lots of other wild fishes found dead as well.
The variety of dead fishes is quite worrisome. And most of them look freshly dead with only a few already decomposed.

I have labelled the fishes as I know some helpful readers will contribute IDs for them. Click on the photo for a larger view. Thank you!

(A) Many were bottom-dwelling fishes such as these flatfishes.
(B) There were also some toadfishes (Family Batrachoididae) and some flatheads (Family Platycephalidae).
(C) And several eeltail catfishes (Family Plotosidae).
(D) This small one looks like a sea catfish (Family Ariidae), a fish seldom seen on the intertidal.
(E) One surface dwelling fish found dead was this halfbeak (Family Hemiramphidae).
(F) There were slow-moving fishes like these pufferfishes (Family Tetraodontidae).
(G) And one really huge pufferfish.
(H) And several filefishes (Family Monacanthidae).
(I) There were several of these small fishes, Whitings (Family Sillaginidae)?
(J) And lots of various kinds of small fishes. The one on the top left might be a Perchlet (Family Chandidae) but I'm not sure about the rest.
(K) There were some medium-sized fishes (about 10-15cm). The one on the left was really flat, I don't know what it is. The one on the right might have been a Tripodfish (Family Triacanthidae).
(L) I'm not sure what these medium-sized fishes are.
(M) Is this a pomfret, or a silver mooney (Family Monodactylidae)? There was only one of this.
(N) There many food fishes. A Streaked rabbitfish (Siganus javus), and I'm not sure what the other one is, but they were both large (about 20cm long).
(O) I'm not sure what these fishes are. They were also about 20cm long.
(P) Even longer were these fishes, about 30cm. There were more than 10 of the fish on the left. The fish on the right might be an Emperor (Family Lethrinidae)?
(Q) Some unidentified fishes. The one on the left looks like a bottom dweller.
(R) More unidentified fishes that look like they are long and fat, some kind of mullet?
(S) And some fishes of more estuarine areas. The Spotted scat (Scatophagus argus) on the left, and the one on the right looks like some kind of tilapia?
(T) And this one looks like a snakehead, which is usually found in freshwater.
(U) We saw a lot of these eel-like fishes of various sizes. From this long one about 30cm.
(V) To this tiny red one which I thought was a rubber band when Kok Sheng pointed it out. Kok Sheng and James saw some live ones of these fishes.
(W) I'm not sure if this really dead fish is the same as the fishes above. But check out those fangs! They seem to lack eyes!
Phew, I've nearly run out of alphabets to label the fishes seen!

It seems the dead represent a wide variety of fishes from all kinds of habitats: bottom-dwelling, surface fishes; slow moving to fast swimming fishes. From estuarine, intertidal to deeper waters. And in a range of sizes from small to very large fishes.

It seems almost every kind of fish we usually see on this and nearby shores were represented among the dead!

The fishes I did not see these among the dead were: stingrays of any kind (Family Dasyatidae), common gobies (Family Gobiidae), scorpionfishes (Family Scorpaenidae), seahorses and pipefishes (Family Syngnathidae), archerfishes (Family Toxotidae).

But then I didn't do the entire Pasir Ris shore.

What is going on? Here's some thoughts.


  1. Picture 'K' left image seems to be a ponyfish.

  2. Zeehan Jaffar shared these IDs with me on Facebook and kindly agreed to have them posted on this blog.

    Thank you Zee!!

    Here's her message:

    Ria, I checked some out... latest list

    I : Thryssa sp. Family Engraulidae

    J :
    Top left, Ambassis vachelli Family Ambassidae
    Top right, Ambassis kopsii Family Ambassidae
    Bottom two: Family Apogonidae

    K: Left, Secutor sp. Family Leiognathidae

    Left, Gazza sp. Family Leiognathidae
    Right, Gerres sp. Family Gerreidae

    Monodactylus sp. Family Monodactylidae

    N: Right, Dendrophysa sp. Family Sciaenidae

    Right, Drepane sp. Family Drepaneidae
    Left, Alectis sp. Family Carangidae

    P: Both look to be from Family Carangidae
    Right, Gnathanodon sp. Family Carangidae

    Left, Family Mugilidae
    Right, Chanos chanos Family Chanidae

    S: Right, Etroplus suratensis Family Chiclidae

    V: Trypauchen vagina Family Gobiidae

    W: Some species of eel goby – would have been good fresh! Family Gobiidae

    I would be interested to see other pics if you have for the ones I have not identified - especially Q and T!


  3. My question is: Why are the fish farmers allowed to throw their dead fish away into the sea? Isn't that a kind of "dumping" or pollution?

    1. hi Jeffrey, There are some farmers who choose to disregards environement by depositing their fishes in the sea. Most of us have ava bring rubbish collector to collect the dead fish.

      please be reassured that not ever farmer are causing pollution

  4. According to today's ST article, after noticing their fishes dying "in a last-ditch attempt, some fish farmers released their fish into the sea to raise their chances of survival."

    Hmm...doesn't sound logical to me. It's not as if even if the fish survive the fish farms will get them back.

    You're right, it's just dumping.



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