Lying next to Singapore's only landfill, there are living reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves!
A Merten's carpet anemone, the first sighting for the whole of Pulau Semakau! I also saw a Fire anemone, many Giant carpet anemones (one with an anemonefish) and several Frilly anemones too.
Eggwhite moon snails on Semakau! Burrowing in the sand were also many Weasel olive snails. Leon also spotted a Tiger cowrie and Fluted giant clam! While the rest of the team saw Spider conch and lots of nudibranchs!
Bigfin reef squid swam quietly towards me before heading off to other parts of the pool.
flatworm floating upside down on the water surface. When it reached a seagrass blade, it turned the right way around and then started to glide away. Is this how flatworms move more rapidly around?
Red swimming crab was ripping off and eating stuff growing on the rubble. One ripped off what looked like a sponge and scuttled into the shelter of seaweeds, probably to eat it in safety?
Soldier crabs came out of their burrows to feed and maintain their burrows. It's so cute how they create the little 'bubbles' of sand as they feed.
Upsidedown jellyfishes. They come in a variety of colours and patterns.
nudibranch may look like a clownish joke, but the other nudibranchs don't think so. It is a voracious predator of nudibranchs and sea slugs!
octopus was stranded in the middle of a sand bar. We gently moved it into a pool of water and it soon recovered.
Common sea stars, some large Cake sand dollars and buried in the sand bar, a few small Remarkable sea cucumbers. At the reef edge, Leon found a Knobbly sea star and Cushion star. The rest of the team also spotted many Tiny maretia heart urchins popping out of the sand.
Horse mussels. Much fewer than on our last survey here in Mar 2019, when I saw them in small groups of less than 10, spread apart. They did not take over the shore.
Mar 2019 when I saw many pale corals.
Spoon seagrass and Needle seagrass.
Tape seagrass especially near the reef edge, most of those in the middle of the intertidal were cropped short. Other seagrass species like Sickle seagrass were also cropped short. This is somewhat similar to what I saw on our last survey in Mar 2019.
The shore we surveyed is next to Pulau Semakau's original mangroves. It is next to the Landfill and on the shore is Singapore's largest fish farm. On the horizon, the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.
More about Pulau Semakau
Just as Changi Airport and Changi Beach are not the same even though they are near one another and share a name, Pulau Semakau is NOT the same as the Semakau Landfill. The Landfill was created by destroying all of Pulau Saking, and about half of the original Pulau Semakau by building a very long seawall. Fortunately, the landfill was constructed and is managed in such a way that the original mangroves, seagrass meadows and reefs on Pulau Semakau were allowed to remain.
Phase 2 of the Landfill was launched. This involved closing the gap of the seawall on the Semakau Landfill, forming one big pool where incinerated ash will be dumped. NEA worked to limit the damage to natural shores during the construction work for this expansion of the landfill.
The 2030 Landuse Plan by the Ministry of National Developmentreleased in Jan 2013 shows plans for 'possible future reclamation' (in light blue surrounded by dotted lines) that may impact the eastern shore of Pulau Semakau. More about the possible impact of the 2030 Landuse Plan on our shores.
The Singapore Blue Plan 2018
Pulau Semakau and nearby islands and submerged reefs have been recommended by the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 for Immediate Conservation Priority.
The Blue Plan recommends the intertidal and subtidal marine areas of Pulau Semakau and adjacent Pulau Hantu, and Pulau Jong to be designated Marine Reserve.
The Blue Plan highlights that Pulau Semakau and its associated patch reefs comprise many ecosystems: coral reefs, mangrove areas, intertidal sandflats, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. The subtidal area of Pulau Jong is larger than the terrestrial area. Pulau Hantu is a popular dive site has seen increasing interest in the past decade due to biodiversity awareness. If protection is accorded to these three islands, zonation plans for use can be implemented to manage tourism and human impacts.
DOWNLOAD the Plan, SUPPORT the Plan! More on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 site.
Photos by others on this trip
Others on this trip: Juria Toramae