Friday, October 20, 2017

Abandoned nets on Pulau Semakau (18 Oct 2017)

It was a hot and crispy day with temperature soaring to 35 degrees.
After 3 months, we are back on this stretch of the shore for a site survey looking out for abandoned nets and collecting data helping to understand the impacts of abandoned nets affecting our shores.

We had a team of dedicated volunteers who helped out in this project.  As soon as we reached and disembarked onto Pulau Semakau, we divided the group into 2 groups, each covering the different area of the shore. One group who combed the mangrove area found nets entangled with roots of mangrove trees.
As the team proceeds further, there were some remains of floats from driftnets being either tied onto the mangrove tree.
The ropes were very tightly tied onto the mangrove trees which caused deep cut marks onto the branches of the trees. It took some time to untie the ropes.
Besides looking out for abandoned nets, the team also helped to remove the plastic that was caught among the branches of the trees.
On the high shore, some team members found some monofilament nets together with some nylon rope nets. Unfortunately, we did not manage to measure their length as they are all entangled.
The second group was checking out on the high shore, they chanced upon 2 huge pile of abandoned nets that was last seen back on July 17.  With some luck, the group manages to find the pile of nets at the same location. This round only one pile was seen. Although this trip tide was higher we still did not manage to remove the net as the coast is rather shallow and the dinghy was unable to come close to shore. We need a very much higher tide but not sure if the nets will still be here the next trip.  Below is a picture that was taken the last trip and it requires at least 3 people to carry.
Group 2 saw more nylon rope nets on the high shores and were busy removing them.
More nets were discovered throughout the trip.
During this trip besides removing nets, the team also removed many ropes that were entangled with roots of mangrove trees, no idea where did the ropes come from?
The good news is throughout the trip, no marine creatures were trapped in the nets collected. Thanks to all volunteers who have sacrificed their time on a public holiday to help out in this project and also photo contributors.  Let's hope there will be fewer nets to be clear the next visit.

Meanwhile, Heng Pei Yan aka Drone Commander took aerial views of the mangroves of Pulau Semakau that lie next to the Semakau Landfill.

Here's an aerial view of the volunteers on Pulau Semakau.

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