15 March 2015

Update on mass fish deaths: East Johor Strait

Sightings shared suggest few dead fishes at our northeast coasts. And there are signs that some marine life recovered from the mass fish deaths two weeks ago. But also some signs that fishes have yet to completely recover.
I was so glad to see half beaks and archerfishes at Changi Jetty yesterday!
But does this mean the risk of plankton bloom in East Johor Strait is over?

Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris

The most comprehensive ground report of East Johor Strait waters was shared by Khee Wei Goh who had "kayaked clockwise round Ubin on Saturday. Only saw a few dead fishes (<10) on the west coast waters of Ubin. There was an oily slick on the water surface in this area. A local fisherman was landing fair size crabs in his crab pots. He commented that his catch as usual. Conducted a Twilight Trisect of Ubin. Did not notice any dead fishes on the surface in the mangroves of Jelutong, Mamman and Puaka Rivers. Noticed lesser mullets and fishes in the water as opposed to previous visit in February. Saw the usual shrimps on the banks but lesser evidence of other fish movements. Fishermen at Ubin were landing catfishes and other fish species."
Adventurepaddlers WaterCross also shared today (15 Mar): "Was out yesterday and today. Water seems back to normal, with much marine life activities both in ubin and changi waters. Some sport fishing kayakers reported good catch."


Sumita also shared her survey of Changi on 14 Mar, reporting "Only 2 dead fishes on changi beach today morning"


Thanks to Tony Seow who shared: "Saw only 1 fish floating yesterday (14 Mar) around Sembawang shipyard. Water at Sembawang is remarkably clean."

[Update 16 Mar. Thanks to Tan Sijie who shared: " Sembawang side definitely is not so much affected. After 3 weeks of class camp at Water Venture Sembawang, I have only seen a small handful of dead fish."]

At the fish farms

Meanwhile today (15 Mar), Sea Angel Boatfishing shared this video clip of teeming fishes caught in a fish farm net. Some fish farms depend on wild caught marine life to feed their caged fish.

Is the threat of a plankton bloom over? 

A Straits Times article reported that "Experts say the most accurate way to find out if plankton levels are normal is a water quality test. said it is tempting to regard the lack of new deaths as an indication that the water is now safe, but he cautioned: "Nobody can say for sure without specific monitoring."

Activities that affect water quality in East Johor Strait

There are a great many activities going on in Singapore that can affect the marine ecosystems in the East Johor Strait. Here are just a few.
click on image for larger view.
At Changi yesterday (14 Mar), dredging is still going on at Changi Creek.
Sediment curtains appear to have been placed on the opposite side of the dredging works. But how far does dredged stuff go? Do these affect marine life? Are such impacts considered in the dredging work?
At the area of Changi Jetty that is used by fish farmers, a massive pile of planks was being loaded onto a boat.
There is a great deal more that need to be studied and learned. We also need a more integrated approach to managing our mangroves, seagrass meadows and other marine ecosystems. These provide good water quality which is good for food fish and good for people! Thanks to a wise woman for the quote!

Thanks to everyone who shared sightings. Please continue to share them!

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.


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