17 July 2010

Driftnet removal at Semakau with TeamSeagrass

Today, TeamSeagrass braved the predawn deluge to make it to Pulau Semakau for our monitoring.
Sadly, after we completed monitoring, we discovered a huge driftnet laid out on the shore. This is unfortunately quite a common event on Semakau.

The net appears abandoned as there were many fishes that were already dead and half eaten by other marine life.
Many large fishes were trapped in the nets.
Many swimming crabs (Portunus pelagicus) were trapped in the nets. Corals, soft corals and sponges are also wrecked by the net.
Many other crabs trapped in the net too. Some like this Red egg crab (Atergatis intergerrimus) will simply be discarded by the fishermen.
This Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma) was not badly entangled and was quickly released from the net. See more photos by Jason on facebook.
Driftnets are destructive because they indiscriminately trap all kinds of marine life. The bulk of which will be discarded, maimed or dead.

Since we had so many hands, we decided to remove as much of the net as we could. While some Team members released the trapped animals. Others hauled out the net. Read more about the haul out on the TeamSeagrass blog.
Later, I learnt that some people had walked up to the NEA jetty after being stranded on the shore. Much earlier, we noticed a marooned sampan on the shore (but I forgot to take a photo of it). The NEA staff think these people were the ones who laid the driftnet.

Driftnets are found on all our shores! Ceaselessly trapping all kinds of marine life until they are removed. Here's some of our encounters.

Sharks and large reef fishes trapped on Cyrene Reef.
Horsehoe crabs trapped on Sentosa
Coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) trapped in a drift net
Reef lobster trapped on St. John's Island
Threats to Singapore marine life: drift nets
Monitor lizard on Pulau Sekudu
Rescuing trapped monitor lizard
Removing massive driftnets at Berlayar Creek
Drift net removal at Belayar Creek
Horseshoe crabs on Chek Jawa
Drift net on Chek Jawa
Crabs at Kranji
Flower crabs trapped in driftnet
Setting up nets at Tanah Merah
Setting up driftnets on Tanah Merah

There are simply too many instances for me to include in this post.

I'm quite at a loss of what we can do about this issue.

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