20 August 2017

Kusu Island with large fish trap

We visit our favourite shores during the last series of predawn low tides of the year.
City skyline on mainland from Kusu Island
Just minutes from the central business district on mainland Singapore, there are awesome reefs on tiny Kusu Island. Alas, corals appear to be smothered by a seaweed bloom and we came across a large fish trap.

The edge of the reef outside the seawalls are particularly rich. While I still saw many Blue corals, I noticed many of the large corals were half dead. And I didn't see many leathery soft corals. But I didn't survey much as the tide wasn't very low. We saw a lot more during our last survey in April 2017 during a much lower tide.
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Aug 2017
There are still some corals growing inside the big lagoon. Mostly blue corals and merulind corals.
Corals growing inside the lagoon, Kusu Island
And still some small patches of Branching montipora corals.
Corals growing inside the lagoon, Kusu Island
A look at some of the corals growing in the lagoon.
Corals growing inside the lagoon, Kusu Island
Most of the corals were Merulinid corals and Pore corals. I also saw one Acropora coral, one Lettuce coral, one Anemone coral and one Galaxy coral.
There were still many Magnificent anemones on the reefs, and many Haddon's carpet anemones among the seagrassy areas. None were bleaching.
 There were also many Giant carpet anemones. I saw a tiny Clown anemonefish in one of them.
False clown anemonefishes (Amphiprion ocellaris) in Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)
There were many other fishes on the shore. Including large Fringe-eyed flatheads, Whitings, various Damselfishes and lots of silversides. Lisa also saw a baby shark!
On the sandy areas, there were many Common sea stars in 'mating' position. I also saw one Cake sand dollar and several burrowing moon snails and a few sand collars.
There was a bloom of Sea Lettuce seaweed that covered much of the big lagoon, over seagrasses and corals.
Corals surrounded by Ulva bloom
There were fewer living corals near the mouth of the lagoon. Much of them were smothered by sand or the Sea Lettuce bloom.
There are still sprinkles of Spoons seagrass (tiny leaf blades) and Needle seagrass (narrow leaf blades) in the big lagoon. Lisa found a baby Knobbly sea star!
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
Alas, we came across a large fish trap laid on the reef edge.
Large fish trap on coral reefs of Kusu Island
The trap is quite large and appears new.
Large fish trap on coral reefs of Kusu Island
Large living coral colonies have been rearranged to wedge the trap in place.-
Large fish trap on coral reefs of Kusu Island
There were a few fishes inside the trap, still alive. We released the fishes and got rid of the trap. And replaced the coral colonies so they were no longer upside down.
Large fish trap on coral reefs of Kusu Island
It is heartbreaking to see such stress on a living reef. Unfortunately, we are unable to visit each shore more than once or twice a year. I hope Kusu Island's reefs stay safe until we are able to return.

Photos by others on this trip
Others on this trip: Lisa Lim

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