Monday, January 3, 2011

Testing Project methods at Tanah Merah (3 Jan 2011)

Testing out the Project's methods for the first time!
A team of intrepid volunteers turned out despite the mizzle (miserable drizzle) to tackle an abandoned driftnet at the oil-slicked Tanah Merah.

After a quick check for marine life trapped in the net, the net is brought out to drier ground.
Zeehan shares how we should measure the mesh size of the net. I put the FLIP video camera to good use during this trip!
Oh dear, there is a crab in the net. First we photograph, identify and measure the crab, and record the information.
Here's a video clip of the process. We photograph and identify trapped animals, measure them (for crabs, measure across to the top of the body - excluding limbs and pincers) and record all these details.
Then we carefully cut out the crab. We have to do this gently and carefully so as not to hurt it. At the same time, we must be careful to avoid being pinched by the crab. Zeehan gives some great tips on how to hold the crab so we don't hurt it or get hurt by it.
Next, we slowly remove all the filaments entangled in it.This requires patience and gentleness. Brandon is really good at this.
A second crab. Oh dear, it has already lost most of its legs.
After removing the bits of net entangled in the crabs, they are gently released.
Here are the volunteers in action!
Finally, the net is cut up into manageable pieces for removal and proper disposal.
Job well done indeed, as Zeehan exclaims!
It's wonderful to have many hands to help with all the different tasks. From recording the data, taking the measurements, rescuing the animals, holding the garbage bags open to stuff the nets in.
And extra hands and strong young backs are most appreciated especially for hauling out the net!
It's a long long way away to the main road. We eventually disposed of the nets in a suitable garbage collection point.
Thanks to Siti, Mei Lin, Chay Hoon, Marcus, Nicole, Brandon, Sean, Hou Zhisheng and Zeng Yiwen for helping Zeehan and I with our first Project trip!

Here's some of our simple tool: Lots of scissors, little clipper things (which are easier to use to quickly cut out filaments when wearing thick gloves), dressmaker's measuring tape, and pencils for recording. Some of the team members brought along larger shears to cut away the thicker ropes in the nets. We also have 'China' bags to haul out the nets, and of course, large heavy duty garbage bags.
Once we figure out an effective protocol, we hope to post it online so anyone can also gather the data on any abandoned nets and traps found. In this way, everyone CAN make a difference for this heartbreaking issue.

Meanwhile, if you see any abandoned nets, traps, lines, please let me know so the Project can work them: Ria Thank you!

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