27 February 2015

Dead fish update: Pasir Ris, Seletar Dam, Sembawang

Today I had a quick look at the western shores of Pasir Ris. There were a few large dead fishes and many smaller ones. All appeared to be wild fishes. Also, dead cuttlefishes and horseshoe crabs. I didn't see any dead farm fishes. Sightings of dead fishes at Seletar Dam (Benjamin Li) and Sembawang (Tan Sijie) were also shared recently.
Timothy Hromatka, a fish farmer off Ubin also shared more about the recent fish deaths on the farms.

Timothy Hromatka, a fish farmer off Ubin also shared on facebook yesterday (26 Feb): "It is affecting the groupers buy irritating their gills. They release more slime and then suffocate. It is not toxic to humans and has not killed any of my sea bass or snapper. It is scary however since there are a lot of them but I am optimistic the effect will not be like the massive fish die off of last year. Fish farmers are more responsive this year as well as AVA who have been monitoring the situation daily. Even saw them down last Thursday during the New Year public holiday. It has been a real coordinated effort and little effect so far. Next step is to improve the health of the whole ecosystem."

This huge dead fish that I saw at Pasir Ris looks like a Sea catfish.
Fish A: Sea catfish, wild
The second huge Sea catfish that I saw.
Fish B: Sea catfish, wild.
A large eel-tail catfish.
Fisb C: Eel-tail catfish, wild.
Sad to see a large Archerfish that is usually only found upstream and not on the seashore.
Fish D: Archerfish, wild.
Here's some small to tiny dead fishes that I could gather within a few steps.
Fishes E: top to bottom 1. to 4, tiny one probably a Ponyfish.
Fishes F: left, unknown; right, toadfish, wild.
Fishes G: left to right 1. cuttlefish 2. Cardinalfish,
3 and 4. Eeltail catfishes, all wild.
Fish H.
Fish 1
Fishes J: 1 to 4 top left clockwise.
3. filefish, wild.
Fishes K: Tripod fishes. I saw about 6 of these dead.
I saw about 5 dead cuttlefish/squids.
I also saw about 5 dead horseshoe crabs. They were not moults.
There was a stretch of eroded rocky shoreline that was not yet cleaned.
Here, I saw several large crispy dead fishes that were probably washed up with the high tide of the last few days.
Fish L: Spotted scat, wild
Fish M
Fish N

Thanks also to Benjamin Li and Tan Sijie for sharing dead fish sightings recently.

Seletar Dam

Benjamin Li shared yesterday (26 Feb): "Reporting from Seletar dam facing Johor side.Unusually strong pungent smell from the sea got my curiousity as I was riding pass this stretch. Almost very 2 meters along the shores were dead specimens (Horseshoe crabs,mangrove whiprays, flower crabs, grouper,sand eel, green chromides,spotted scat, Barramundi, toadfish, shrimps and huge colonies of marine sandworms)'
These photos of lots of dead bristleworms is most alarming. It suggests some serious water quality issues.
Photo by Benjamin Li on facebook.
This looks like a burrowing fish that rarely comes up above ground.
Photo by Benjamin Li on facebook.
An assortment of what looks like wild fishes. Similar to what I saw at Pasir Ris today.
Photo by Benjamin Li on facebook.

Tan Sijie reported today (27 Feb): "This is from Sembawang Water Venture area. Area looks pretty clean. Just one or two dead fish. This is the big one this morning."
Photo shared by Tan Sijie on facebook.
Tan Sijie added: "My colleague walked further down the beach and collected those fish above. About one every few steps. About palm size."
Photo shared by Tan Sijie on facebook.
We are in the midst of another dry season which NEA says will last until early March. The grass at Pasir Ris Park is already turning brown.
There continued to be some, but not a lot, of broken Spoon seagrasses floating in the water and washing up on the shore. A sign of high water temperatures?
As usual, among the large trash that I saw on Pasir Ris today, many clearly come from the offshore fish farms.

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, Sembawang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Changi.

Thank you!

Discussion and links to more about mass fish deaths.


  1. Some tentative identifications:

    Fish E: 1, 2, 4 are cardinalfishes (1 & 2 are a different species from 4), 3 is a White Tamban (Sardinella albella, 5 is possibly Haneda's Pugnose Ponyfish (Secutor hanedai)

    Fish F: Kops' Glass Perchlet (Ambassis kopsii)

    Fish G: 2 is a Candystripe Cardinalfish (Ostorhinchus endekataenia), the catfishes are juvenile Striped Eeltail Catfish (Plotosus lineatus)

    Fish H: Another Sea Catfish (Family Ariidae)

    Fish I: Sweeper (Pempheris sp.)

    Fish J: 1 is another Sweeper, 2 is another White Tamban, 4 is a Telkara Glass Perchlet ( Ambassis vachellii)

    Fish M: White-patch Tuskfish (Choerodon oligacanthus)

    Fish N: Snapper (Lutjanus sp.)

    The pink burrowing fish that Benjamin Li found is likely a Bearded Worm Goby (Taenioides cirratus)

  2. I was at pasir ris beach at 4pm yesterday, and there was a massive amount of dead fish along the shoreline.

    They included
    Multiple Catfish
    An eel
    Many small whitish-grey fishes

    There were also some fished swimming really slowly close to the surface, and they looked like they were struggling against the tide.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Thank you for sharing your sightings at Pasir Ris yesterday. I was there too and it was very sad to see so many dead fishes and marine life.



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