Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Very long driftnet at Tuas (27 Sep 11)

We came across a very very VERY long driftnet on Tuas today.
The small team tried our best to remove as much as we could.

The net started somewhere near the mouth of the canal near the cluster of mangrove trees on this shore.
Extended across the small lagoon between the high shore and the Merawang beacon. Kok Sheng, who was already at the Beacon area said the net extended even further out after that. He couldn't see the end of it!
The location of the net is approximately along the yellow line. We only managed to remove the portion between the two red arrows.
Using the ruler on Google Earth, the net is probably about 400m long!
We managed to remove the net laid from the Beacon, across this shallow lagoon where lots of fishes were already trapped. We could only remove a small portion of the next near the sandy high shore.
Most of the fishes trapped were small filefishes, mainly Fan-bellied filefishes (Monacanthus chinensis). Many of those released were still alive. They were about 10cm long.
Other fishes trapped included one Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) about 8cm long.
Also one Tripodfish (Family Triancanthidae) about 10cm long.
I came across three small White-spotted rabbitfishes (Siganus canaliculatus) about 10cm long. Here's my foot next to it for scale. No time to measure them.
And also one of these fishes that I don't know. I also saw one flatfish but couldn't photograph it properly.
The net also entangled immobile animals such as sea fans, sponges, corals.
This shore is rich with all kinds of encrusting animals, which may get entangled and injured by the net.
A fish AND a seafan trapped in the net.
More sea fans entangled in the net. We didn't come across any crabs trapped in the portion of nets we removed. This suggests the net was only recently laid because crabs are usually only attracted to and get entangled in a net by dead fishes.
The sun was setting and tide turning so we didn't have time to remove all of the net. We think we removed about 100m of the 400m net. Although the pile we removed seemed small, it was a heavy haul. Thankfully, Kok Sheng and Bee Yan were there to drag them up in two trips.
Hopefully, the rest of the net can be removed.

More about what we saw and did on this trip on the wild shores of singapore blog.

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