08 March 2015

Dead fishes still washing up at Lim Chu Kang

At Lim Chu Kang Jetty, last night's tide had left behind more dead fishes. I checked it out at dawn and also checked out Kranji and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve afterwards.
Not everything has died! There's still many living animals at the Reserve!

Here's a video clip of the dead fishes on the shores near Lim Chu Kang Jetty this morning.
It was low tide and there were no cleaners on the shore, so I could take my time and take a closer look at the dead fishes. Many of the dead fishes appear to be wild fishes. But I also saw mullets, which may be wild or farmed.

Fishes were scattered everywhere in the mangroves next to the Jetty.
 Here's a closer look at some of the fishes.
Fish A: Spotted sicklefish, wild.
Fiah B: Pufferfish, wild.
Fish C
Fish D
Fish E: Eel-tail catfish, wild. It was huge!
There is a great deal of trash on at the mangroves next to Lim Chu Kang Jetty.
There are also several piles on the high shore that look like stored belongings. Whose belongings are those? In this photo you can also more clearly see the tide lines left behind by last night's high spring tide.
There's even a kind of 'cafe' bench and table setup in the mangroves.
Much of the trash looks like they come from the fish farms. They include large blue drums, large containers, furniture. In the photo below, a large bag that used to contain sugar. On top of it, some dead mullet, that might be farmed fish. More about the trash at Lim Chu Kang in this old post.

Kranji Reservoir Park

At Kranji Reservoir Park, the tide had left behind fishes high on the rock wall, as well as fishes on shore below the rock wall.
 It was low tide so I could walk down the shore. There was a sprinkling of dead fishes on the high water line.
 And another thin line of small fishes on the mid water mark.
 A few larger dead fishes here and there. Mostly Tamban.
This looks like some kind of flatfish.
Seems the birds are ignoring the dead fish?
In the distance, whimbrels were foraging.
 There are signs of waders everywhere on the mudflat.
I headed out the mudflats which are exposed at low tide. On the other side of the Johor Strait is Johor Baru.
The mudflat was dotted with large patches of seaweed. I don't come to this shore often enough to know whether this is normal for this time of the year.
A closer look at the seaweed. Some kind of red seaweed (Gracilaria?) and Sea lettuce seaweed (Ulva  sp.).
I also saw small piles of tiny dead empty shells here and there.
Looks like Nest mussels? These animals are rather seasonal and can cover vast areas and then disappear. Once again, I don't know this shore well enough to know whether this means something.
The water is surprisingly clear! In fact, one of the men I met in the Park told me yesterday that he could see to the bottom when he was kayaking. He found this unusual. Does this have anything to do with what is going on in the water? So much more for us to learn and know about our shores.
I also saw a foreign worker going out into the water with a cast net when he saw a school of fish swimming in the water.
I saw a man coming in to shore from a boat carrying a large plastic bag full of fishes. In the Park, some foreign workers were buying fish from some men there. If there are health warnings that need to be issued in relation to the mass death of farmed and wild fishes in the area, these warning should be issued soonest.
On the way to the Park, a quick peek at the freshwater side of the Reservoir sluice gate and there is a kind of green hairy scummy thing in the water. Is this normal?

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

I made a brief stop at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension. There were some Tamban on the high tide line.
There were also large catfishes and other large fishes on the high water mark.
A dead Estuarine moray eel. I saw about 10 of these dead today, from Lim Chu Kang to Kranji. So sad to see these wild fishes dead.
 There seems to be some kind of green scummy growth on the mudflats.
I was glad to see some very large Orange signaller crabs, and many tiny holes in the mud which suggests there are living animals down there.
I was relieved to see many Giant mudskippers happily skipping around. And on the mud, trails of living Rodong snails. In the water, there was also a pair of horseshoe crabs moving around with the male on top of the female.
On the way to the Main Bridge, we are treated to an Oriental pied hornbill. Thanks to Lim Yaohui for pointing it out to me.
 From the Main Bridge, the herons and egrets are lining the banks and all seems fine.
 We also spot an Estuarine crocodile, swimming happily in the very clear water.
At the Main Bridge, a scatter of dead fishes were floating in with the rising tide. I was relieved to see swimming around, lots of wild mullets. Also, some Tilapia swimming in deeper water. I only saw one Halfbeak and I didn't see any Archerfishes.
 Near the sluice gate, there were still living Green mussels stuck to the gate walls.
More high res photos for free use on wildsingapore flickr.

Lim Yaohui takes far better photos and here's those he took today and shared on facebook.

Here's the places I checked today.
I hope we hear soon from the scientists and agencies about what is going on.

Are fish farmers at Lim Chu Kang affected?

There are about 60 AVA-licenced fish farms off Lim Chu Kang Jetty. According to a media report one fish farmer said his baby mullets were worst hit. "It happened within minutes," he said. "My fish were jumping and jumping in the water. I don't know why."

Are the mass fish deaths in the northwest coming to an end?

I hope and wish so. But alas. Today, I sense there were about the same number of 'freshly' dead fishes as I saw yesterday. More importantly, we are approaching neap tides in 3-4 days' time. During neap tide, there is little water exchange. This is when conditions can become favourable for situations that result in mass fish deaths.

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, Woodlands Waterfront, Sembawang, Punggol, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris, Changi.

There are too many shores for me to personally check, so I really appreciate any info or photos that you can share.

Thanks to the many people who have shared sightings. Please keep them coming!

See also this post I did following the April 2014 mass fish death in the same area: What the fish? Figuring out dead fishes at Sungei Buloh

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