12 August 2021

Three-clam day at Pulau Jong

Pulau Jong is among the last untouched islands in Singapore. It has not been reclaimed or directly impacted by development. Pulau Jong is what all our Southern islands looked like before they were reclaimed.
Living shores of Pulau Jong
We often see many Giant clams on this island and today we saw three!

I saw this medium sized Fluted giant clam on the high shore. It was about 20cm long. Jianlin found two larger ones in water, so further seaward. I don't think these were the same as the two that I saw on our last survey in Aug 2020.
Here's the Giant clams that Jianlin found. They look huge!

I went to pay my respects Mama Jong, but I couldn't find her shells anymore. Only the stick which marks her location remains. This enormous Giant clam is called Mama Jong because her babies were a part of Dr Neo Mei Lin's work. She has been loved and monitored for a long time. We found her dead on our Jun 2018 survey.
Location of Mama Jong RIP
I have never seen a lot of hard corals on Pulau Jong since we started surveying it. Today, there seems even less.
Living shores of Pulau Jong
A few small colonies of common species. Most were alright, a few had small bleaching portions, which is normal. I didn't see any mass coral bleaching.
The most common large coral colonies were Boulder pore corals. Most were alright, but some had edges that were recently dead (white or greyish-blue). A similar situation that we have been observing on several different southern shores. Such as at Kusu Island in Jun 2021.
There remain many leathery soft corals on this shore, of various kinds. Similar to our survey last Aug 2020, I feel they are not as big or as plentiful as during our survey in Jun 2019. I didn't come across any Asparagus flowery soft corals or Frilly anemones. There were, however, still a lot of zoanthids of various kinds on the shore and plenty of Black long sea cucumbers.
Living shores of Pulau Jong
There is not a lot of seagrasses growing on Pulau Jong. But I sense the sprinkling of Sickle seagrass has gotten a little bit more dense on the eastern side of the island, from the island all along the sides towards the flats near Pulau Sebarok. There were even some patches with rather denser growths of Spoon seagrass and Sickle seagrass. The seagrass leaves were fresh and green, I didn't see any burnt seagrasses as I did on our survey on Jun 2018.
A natural coastal forest cloaks the little island. This habitat is now rare in Singapore and so the island is home to some rare plants. The natural cliffs are constantly eroding and thus tree falls and landslides are a feature of this habitat.
Living shores of Pulau Jong
There was one large fish trap 'stored' on the high shore above the high water mark. We saw this on our last survey here in Aug 2020 and Jun 2019 as well as on past trips.
Huge fish trap on Pulau Jong, Aug 2021
The island lies right next to the Jong Fairway, a major 'highway' used by many huge vessels like containerships.
Living shores of Pulau Jong
Dubbed the 'char siew pau' island because of its cute dumpling shape, Pulau Jong has a huge reef flat that is exposed at low spring tide. This reef flat together with the domed island is said to resemble the silhouette of a Chinese sailing junk, thus 'Jong'.
Living shores of Pulau Jong

Future of Pulau Jong?

Pulau Jong is one of the existing natural shores that may be impacted by the landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development released in Jan 2013 in response to the Populations White Paper with a 6.9 million population target. The dotted margined blue areas are "Possible Future Reclamation". The other shores impacted by this plan include Pulau Hantu, Terumbu Pempang Darat, Terumbu Pempang Tengah and Terumbu Semakau.

The Singapore Blue Plan 2018

As part of the cluster around Pulau Semakau, Pulau Jong has been recommended by the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 for Immediate Conservation Priority.

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.
Living shores of Pulau Jong

More about our Crazy Rich Shores at Pulau Jong.

DOWNLOAD the Plan, SUPPORT the Plan! More on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 site.

Photos by others on this survey

James Koh


Jianlin Liu


Marcus Ng


Vincent Choo

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