27 April 2015

Checking out the plankton bloom at Pasir Ris

A plankton bloom has been going on at East Johor Strait for at least a week. You can tell by the tea-coloured water. I heard some farm fishes (fingerlings) were already dying last week.
Yesterday, we saw tea-coloured water on the way to Ubin. And dredging at Changi Creek is still ongoing. Today I had a quick look at Pasir Ris.

The water at Pasir Ris is also tea-coloured.
I saw about 5 dead Gong-gong snails, with the animal extended out of the shell. I saw another 5 shells which were empty. I'm not sure if this means something.
I only saw one small dead fish.
Pasir Ris beach is cleaned everyday after the high tide.
This is the trash load for the day.
A large bag that used to contain fish meal.
I visited the part of the shore that lies outside the Park proper and which is thus not cleaned every day. There is a huge pile of accumulating plastic. This shore was just cleared last week by volunteers of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore!
A pile of trash that includes an abandoned fishing net and some large containers.
There are a whole bunch of pipes coming out of the land into the water. I believe they are from a land-based farm and suck in and discharge seawater. Nearby, an excavator.
I didn't see the usual spectacular spray of water from one of the pipes. And many of the pipes are not connected. Have the pipes been disabled? If so, why are they still on the shore?
A closer look at the excavator and it appears to have cleared a large swathe of the vegetation between the beach and a gravel road on higher ground. Hopefully, this doesn't result in massive silt runoff into the water when it rains.
Nearby, there are several buildings with large numbers. The buildings look well maintained but totally empty. I'm not sure why the vegetation has been cleared. There were no construction or other notices near the excavator or work site.
The work site next to the Lorong Halus Jetty has become bigger with two floating cranes. Another source of stress for the water quality.
A healthy marine ecosystem helps to provide good water quality and moderate impacts of plankton blooms. Things like trash, coastal works, dredging, runoff and discharges from land, all these stress the marine ecosystem. Let's hope there will be an effort to have a more holistic and integrated approach to managing the East Johor Strait ecosystems.

Meanwhile, we are coming into the neap tide season when the Johor Strait is not flushed as well as during spring tide (more about the tides). So there is a great danger of plankton blooms affecting fishes and other marine life.

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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