Friday, May 6, 2016

200m net removed at Chek Jawa (7 May 2016)

A team of volunteers who were surveying Chek Jawa this morning came across a long net.
Thanks to many hands, we managed to remove the entire 200m long net and release all the animals that were trapped in the net.

The net (red line) was laid in a straight line near the boardwalk entrance to the sand bar. The net was about 200m long. The yellow line was the route I took on our survey of Chek Jawa this morning.
We check the net for animals trapped in it.
These fishes were still alive.
This fish was still alive.
The net can also snag animals like carpet anemones.
During our survey, we also saw dugong feeding trails on the seagrass meadows. Dugongs breathe air and will drown if they are trapped in a net.
While some volunteers worked on one end of the net, others headed out to find the end of the net, and yet others worked on the middle of the net.
Ivan and I found the end of the net. We released about 20 fishes (mostly dead), 3 crabs (alive) and 1 coastal horseshoe crab (alive)
We then packed up the net. The rest of the team had to bring the net up as the tide was turning.
On the higher shore, we slowly worked on releasing dead and half alive fishes and other animals.

The net was made of plastic mono-filament and the mesh was about 6cm diagonally.
Thanks to all the volunteers for releasing the animals and bringing the net all the way to the bins at the Visitor Centre.
More photos of the fishes caught in the net on flickr thanks to Ivan Kwan.
Driftnet removal @ Chek Jawa (7th May 2016)

This is not the first time we have seen a long net on Chek Jawa. We saw one on our survey in Jul 2013 located in approximately the same location.
We saw abandoned nets in Apr 2013 and Jan 2013, some near signs ofdugong feeding trails. We also saw a fisherman lay a very long driftnet inside the Chek Jawa lagoon in February 2013.
We sent the photos of the fisherman to NParks for action as the Chek Jawa area is off limits.
The issue of driftnets on Chek Jawa (and elsewhere) is a painful one and does not have an easy or quick solution.

Posts about the net by others on this trip

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