Sunday, July 21, 2013

Very long driftnet at Chek Jawa (21 Jul 2013)

A very long driftnet was seen at Chek Jawa during a predawn survey there.
It was laid on top of all kinds of marine life that might be damaged or uprooted when the net is removed.

The approximate location of the net is below. We could not find the other end before the tide turned. We suspect the net is more than 200m long.
Black line estimated length and position of the net
drawing provided by Loh Kok Sheng
This carpet anemone is already a bit entangled in the net.
A cluster of fishes look like they are already getting entangled in the net.
The net had already uprooted this pretty sea fan.
The net is hooked on sponges and other animals growing at the coral rubble area.
Crabs are among the animals are very easily entangled in such a net.
Ivan tried to release as many of the live fishes as he could before the tide came in. He also removed these dead fishes.
Ivan later shared this list of fishes he saw in the net. He saw many morebut didn't manage to count before the tide got too high.
  • 4 dead mangrove whiprays (juvenile?) retrieved, 2 live mangrove whiprays released - more were seen but not released
  • 2 dead barramundi retrieved - at least one other barramundi was still alive, but not released
  • 1 dead trumpeter perch (young) retrieved (the one carrying the parasitic isopod)
  • 1 live spotted scat (not retrieved)
  • 2 dead soles (not retrieved)
  • 4 live flower crabs (3 were carrying eggs) released
  • 1 live stone crab (not retrieved)
  • 1 live noble volute (entangled while feeding on food item in net) released
  • 4 uprooted carpet anemones disentangled and placed in pools away from the net
More photos of the net in this slideshow

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

The net looked freshly laid and we hope the fisherman will come to remove it soon. We realise that if we don't remove all of the net and leave some behind, the fisherman will just abandon the net. This makes the problem even worse as the abandoned net will continue to kill as long as it is not removed. With the fast turning tide and the small team, we could not remove the net and left it there. We hope the fisherman will come and remove it soon.

This is not the first time we've seen nets on Chek Jawa recently. We saw abandoned nets in Apr 2013 and Jan 2013, some near signs of dugong 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 Alan who sent them to the Police Coast Guard 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.


  1. Wonder whether NParks has ever taken any prosecutorial action against these recalcitrant fishermen?

  2. Hi, I visited chek jawa last Tuesday and sawa boat anchoring within close proximity between the beacon at the coral rubble area and the boardwalk. Not too sure if the driftnet was placed by them. It's unusual to see boats within the protected area.

  3. Thanks for the info on the boat anchoring on Chek Jawa. Next time, you could report such incidents to the officer at the Chek Jawa Info Kiosk at the entrance to Chek Jawa. If you can see the boat registration number, please also inform them of this. Hopefully, with more eyes on the ground and information, NParks can do something about this situation.