20 February 2011

Abandoned driftnet on Pulau Semakau

There is a very long abandoned driftnet on Pulau Semakau. After we finished doing our TeamSeagrass monitoring, Andy and I had a closer look at it.
Part of it was draped across a hard coral colony, the rope rubbing and killing the coral.

The abandoned net stretched quite a long way, probably about 40-50m.
A closer look at the net rubbing against the coral. We cut the ropes so it would stop doing this.
The net also uproots and damages other stationary animals such as sponges.
We didn't have time to remove the net, so we tried to at least release some of the animals trapped in the net. We found two small Spoon-tipped crabs (Leptodius sp.) in the net. Each was about 7cm in body width.
Here is the other one.
Here is the crab after it was released. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough hands or time to properly clear all the fishing net lines entangled on it.
Andy also noticed this Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) entangled in the net. Perhaps it caught the net as it retracted, or was it eating something that got caught in the net? This large beautiful snail is listed as Vulnerable in Singapore.
Some parts of the net are still intact, other parts were already broken.
Another stretch of the net.

Other parts of the net is well overgrown with seaweeds and other encrusting organisms.
The net also stretched into a rather rich reefy part of the shore where we saw many different kinds of hard corals and even a seahorse!
We need to go back to Pulau Semakau to just focus on removing this net as part of Project Driftnet.

As we looked at the net, next to the Semakau reef, there was a boatload of fishermen. Kok Sheng also spoke to a group of three men who were foraging on the shore. He found out that they used to stay on Semakau.
Shufen and Chua JC lead a team to check up on the mangroves at Semakau. Alas, they found that the large Api-api jambu trees (Avicennia marina) in the cells are no more. Here's my last look at the trees in April 09. But the two smaller trees on the Semakau shore are still there. These trees are Critically Endangered and it's very sad to learn that we have lost the lovely trees in the cells.
The little Api-api jambu on the shore was blooming and fruiting.
Even these trees are hurt by abandoned fishing lines and nets. Here's Shufen and Chua JC removing entangled lines on the tiny struggling Api-api jambu.
They also checked on the the Critically Endangered Pink-eyed pong pong tree (Cerbera manghas). Some of these large old trees were affected by the recent stormy weather and were leaning very precariously and flowering profusely. A sign that they are stressed. Oh dear. We really shouldn't take our mangrove trees for granted. Sigh.

I had a quick look, and didn't see any bleaching hard corals.
Some special corals seen included: Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.),
Anemone coral
(Goniopora sp.), Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.)
and Brain coral (Family Mussidae).
I also checked up on a Bubble tip sea anemone (Entacmea quadricolor) and it was not bleached.
Alas, as Andy and I headed out to our monitoring site, we came across a bunch of batteries simply strewn on the shore. Looks like someone replaced batteries and simply tossed the used ones on the shore. The batteries were quite high on the shore and probably  happened recently as the batteries were not encrusted.
It's a pity that some people are unaware of how their behaviour can hurt such a lovely shore.

More posts about the trip
  • TeamSeagrass with more about how sea cucumbers are important to seagrasses.
  • Kok Sheng with lots of knobbly sea stars, special cockle and other sightings.

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