Sagor Catfish


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Sagor Catfish (Hexanematichthys sagor)
Yishun Dam, 26th October 2013

These photographs of a Sagor Catfish were shared by ‘Nikita Hengbok’.

Baffling fish kill: Fisherman Zhahiran Sabu showing the dead fish found in Sungai Bayan Lepas. Photo: Chan Boon Kai

Malaysia: Probe into mystery of mass fish deaths
14th July 2015;

The Department of Environment has launched an investigation into the mass fish deaths in Sungai Bayan Lepas.

Various officers from the department were seen collecting water samples at the site yesterday for testing. The result of the test is expected to be out in two weeks.

Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said various fish species were found dead in the river on Sunday.

“The fish are Mullet (belanak) (F. Mugilidae), gelama (Croaker) (F. Sciaenidae) and duri (Sea Catfish) (F. Ariidae).”

“We were told by the affected fishermen that the river water is frequently black and oily.”

“The pollution spreads from the river to the sea, endangering the fish and prawns which form the fishermen’s catch,” he said in a press statement.

Malaysian Nature Society Penang branch adviser D. Kanda Kumar said the cause of the fish deaths could not be the hot weather.

“If it is the hot weather, then every river in the state will be effected as well.

"It has to be due to some human activity taking place upstream that is polluting the river,” he said when contacted.

He advised residents nearby to contact the authorities if they see any illegal discharge of waste into the river.

Penang Gerakan Youth secretary Ooi Zhi Yi urged the government to take stern action against the culprits.

“This is the fourth fish death case within a short period after Sungai Kerian in Nibong Tebal, Sungai Tasek Cempedak in Seberang Prai Selatan and Sungai Dondang in Paya Terubong,” Ooi said in a statement.

State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said they would do a survey of the area to identify the possible cause while waiting for the lab results.

Those with any information can contact the Penang Island City council at 04-2637637 or the Seberang Prai Municipal Council at 04-5372658.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Fisheries Department To Investigate Cause Of Death Of Marine Catfish

20th March 2015;

The Penang Fisheries Department will investigate the real cause of pollution that is killing off thousands of Marine Catfish (Sea Catfish) (F. Ariidae) found dead and floating in the Sungai Kerian to the water gates of the Jajar Dam here.

Its director Abdullah Md Dan said he had directed a special team to investigate the matter and his officers had also taken samples of the river water.

“We have received complaints and reports from the residents about the incident and I believe it is not impossible that the death of the fish is due to pollution from toxins released by factories near the river.

"However, further investigations must be carried out and we are still waiting for the water samples which have been sent to the Biosecurity Division for more tests,” he said when contacted here Friday.

Yesterday, Bernama reported that since two days ago, thousands of Marine Catfish died and were found floating in the waters of Sungai Kerian up to the water gates of the Jajar Dam here.

The death of these fish had caused the entire area to reek of the stench of rotting fish at the water gates which are closed.

Meanwhile, Abdullah said, the investigation process could take more time as several tests had to be conducted before a full report could be obtained.

“We will get all the information from the department and agencies involved to determine the cause of death of the fish, whether it is from pollution or not,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia: Fisheries Department To Investigate Cause Of Death Of Marine Catfish

Watery grave: Villager Hafizie Jamaludin, 20, scooping up ikan duri among the dead fish found along the Sungai Kerian riverbank.

Malaysia: Dead fish in riverbank now number in the thousands
20th March 2015;

Thousands of dead fish were found afloat along the Sungai Kerian riverbank near the Ampang Jajar water gate.

Comprising mostly of ikan duri, ikan manyung (Sea Catfishes) (F. Ariidae) and prawns, they were first found in small numbers belly up on Tuesday. However, by yesterday, they numbered in the thousands.

Authorities are investigating the cause but speculation is rife that there could be water pollution or that the fish died due to the current hot weather.

Ampang Jajar sluice gate caretaker Saiful Alehzaidin, 42, said a strong stench now came from the river.

“Villagers nearby are finding it unbearable,” he said.

“The fish are decaying and the smell is revolting. I have been working here for the past 18 years and this is first time I have seen so many dead fish and prawns,” he said yesterday.

Seri Ampangan Village Development and Security Committee chairman Ahmad Furanji Shariff said: “The situation has worsened as the sluice gates remain closed.

"We hope the authorities will help get rid of the dead fish as they are posing a health problem.”

Fishermen Supian Mohd said their catch would be affected if the problem was not solved soon.

“It is going to affect our income. If the pro¬≠blem is caused by irresponsible people, action must be taken against them,” he said.

Source: The Star

Mohd Hafizi displaying the dead fish. Photo by Masry Che Ani

Malaysia: Thousands of fish die in Sungai Kerian
By Lee Hooi Boon, 20th March 2015;

Thousands of dead fish were found blanketing the surface of Sungai Kerian at Kampung Jajar, Jalan Trans Kerian.

Mohd Hafizi Mohd Jamaluddin, 20, a resident who stays near by the river, said the fish began floating to the surface of the river since Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters here today, he said the dead fish include catfish.

“There are more dead fish in the river today and it is causing an awful smell around our living area now. It is first time to see thousands dead fish at here,” he said.

Village Security and Development Committees (JKKK) chairman Ahmad Furanji Shariff said residents in Kampung Jajar are suffering over the stench.

He said the water gate of the river was closed, hence all dead fish were trapped in the waters of the river.

“The smell is getting worse, so I hope the State Drainage and Irrigation Department, Environment Department or Fisheries Department can come forward and help us to settle this problem,” he said, adding that the river might be polluted and all fish in the river were poisoned.

Source: The Sun Daily

NEA cleaners cleaning up the dead fish washed up on Lim Chu Kang jetty. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday said the bloom will pose a “real challenge for long-term fish farming in that area”. Photo by Lau Fook Kong

Plankton bloom causing fish deaths ‘likely to recur’
AVA and farmers must discuss best way to tackle challenge: Vivian
By Carolyn Khew, 9th March 2015;

The plankton bloom behind the recent mass deaths of fish along the Johor Strait is likely to keep happening.

And this will pose a “real challenge for long-term fish farming in that area”, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday.

“The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and the fish farmers are going to have to sit down to discuss what’s the best way forward.”

Two Saturdays ago, coastal farms in Changi lost thousands of fish to plankton bloom. Then last Friday, farms in Lim Chu Kang were hit. More than 500 tonnes of fish have been lost.

Asked about the issue yesterday, on the sidelines of the Green Corridor Run, Dr Balakrishnan said that plankton blooms tend to occur whenever there is a dry spell or drought.

This is especially true for the waters facing the Strait of Johor.

“This is likely to be a recurrent problem with global warming, with greater incidence of both droughts as well as heavy, intense storms,” he added.

Plankton blooms can be deadly as the plankton suck oxygen from the water, suffocating other marine life.

The National Environment Agency said that the first half of this month is expected to have less rainfall than usual. This follows significantly low levels of rain in the previous two months.

The dry weather is partly due to the early onset of the north-east monsoon’s dry phase, which is characterised by drier weather and occasional wind.

Last Saturday, dead fish, including Catfish (F. Ariidae and F. Plotosidae) and Mullet (F. Mugilidae), were found washed up on the shores at Lim Chu Kang jetty, resulting in a clean-up operation by the National Environment Agency which continued until yesterday.

It is believed that more than 200 bags of dead fish were collected at the jetty.

Across the Causeway, Malaysian reports estimated that six tonnes of wild and cultured fish were found dead in areas such as Johor Port and Puteri Harbour.

The AVA said last week that it will provide assistance to fish farmers affected by the fish deaths, so that they can recover and restart their operations. There are 117 coastal farms around Singapore.

It is also looking to enhance their ability to better withstand such incidents – for instance, by putting in place contingency plans.

Fish farmer Simon Ho, who is in his 60s, hopes for a longer-term solution to prevent the mass fish deaths from happening again.

The plankton bloom wiped out all 80,000 of his Silver Pomfrets (Pampus sp.) this year.

When the bloom hit last year, he managed to save half of his stock.

“I’m not going to start rearing fish again until there’s a solution to the plankton problem,” said Mr Ho, who owns New Ocean Fish Farm.

“We’ve tried so hard already.”

Source: The Straits Times

Thousands of fish were found washed up on shore at Lim Chu Kang jetty on Saturday in the latest in a series of mass deaths. Photos by Lau Fook Kong

New mass fish death washes up thousands at Lim Chu Kang jetty
By Carolyn Khew, 7th March 2015;

Thousands of fish were found washed up on shore at Lim Chu Kang jetty on Saturday in the latest in a series of mass deaths.

Breeds big and small, including Catfish(F. Ariidae) and Mullets (F. Mugilidae), were discovered on the beach near where several fish farms are situated in the Strait of Johor.

Both sea and farm fish were affected.

Farmer Ong Kim Pit, 65, told The Sunday Times that he first saw fish jumping out of the water on Friday night, adding that his baby mullets were worst hit.

“It happened within minutes,” he said. “My fish were jumping and jumping in the water. I don’t know why.”

Cleaners were seen removing bags of dead fish on Saturday.

It is not yet known what caused the mass deaths, but they came a week after a deadly wave of plankton bloom wiped out almost all of some Changi farmers’ stocks.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said the bloom had killed an estimated 500 to 600 tonnes of fish as of last Wednesday, and affected 55 out of 63 farms in the East Johor Strait.

The AVA’s preliminary findings showed elevated levels of Karlodinium veneficum in seawater samples, which has been associated with fish deaths worldwide.

Meanwhile, photos of dead fish at Kranji Reservoir Park and Sungeh Buloh Wetland Reserve also surfaced online on Saturday.

Source: The Straits Times

Mass fish deaths raise concerns about safety
Hundreds of dead fish wash up on the shores of Pasir Ris Beach in Singapore. Although authorities say fish harvested from local farms are safe for consumption, some members of the public are wary.
By Pichayada Promchertchoo, 2nd March 2015;

On Monday (Mar 2), Singaporeans woke up to find the palm-fringed beach of Pasir Ris covered with hundreds of dead fish.

Frequented by families, the long sandy stretch that separates a 70-hectare park in eastern Singapore from the sea was nearly deserted, as many visitors had been driven off by the foul stench of countless rotten marine wildlife, washed ashore the previous night.

“It’s really not nice. We have a baby and we want the baby to walk on the beach. But today, we can’t do that. It’s very dirty and smells terrible,” complained mother-of-one Christine, who said she normally visits the beach park with her young son twice a day. “This is the first time we see dead fish on the beach.”


Over the weekend, mass fish deaths were reported along the eastern Johor Straits. According to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the incident is a result of gill damage caused by plankton – micro-organisms found in the seawater that can multiply quickly in a short period of time.

The phenomenon is known as “plankton bloom”, which can be triggered by unpredictable weather, high concentrations of nutrients in the seawater, and poor water exchange between the high and low tides.

So far, no marine biotoxin has been detected in any of the fish collected by AVA, whose laboratory tests suggested fish harvested from local farms are safe for consumption.


Still, the sight of dead marine creatures along Singapore’s shoreline has raised concern about the safety of eating locally bred fish.

This morning, Mr Ramle Samaa was planning to catch some fish but had to change his mind when he spotted hundreds of dead fish lying across Pasir Ris Beach.

“My hobby is fishing. Today, I decided not to go, because when I went to the beach, I saw a lot of dead fish. So I think it’s not healthy to get a fish at the moment,” he explained. “It’s not one, but a few hundred. So, it’s not healthy”.

His concern was echoed by one of the cleaners at the beach park, Mr Shafiq Daniel Lau. Although the mass mortality of fish in Singapore is nothing new to him, the number of dead fish this year has made him worried. “I’m very concerned. This year is very bad. In the last two years, I was working here but there weren’t as many dead fish. This year, there are many,” he said.

Local fish farmers affected by the plankton bloom said this year’s phenomenon is worse than that of the previous year. In 2014, 39 fish farms along the East and West Johor Straits experienced mass deaths of their marine animals, when close to 160 tonnes of fish were found dead. The deaths were reportedly caused by a plankton bloom and low level of dissolved oxygen in the seawater.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

Thousands of dead fishes at Pasir Ris
By Ria Tan, 28th February 2015;

Thousand of dead fishes washed up at Pasir Ris beach today. Sean Yap also shared photos of dead fishes found on the same stretch of western Pasir Ris that I surveyed.

What is causing this mass fish death? Is it harmful to humans?

There was a line of dead fishes along the area I surveyed. Some had a thinner line.

In the part of the shore outside Pasir Ris Park proper, there was a bigger build up of dead fishes. But even here, the cleaners were trying hard to clear up the fishes. I also met Dixon who was cycling in the area and went down to the shore. I asked for his help to go down the entire length of Pasir Ris Park to see how widespread the dead fishes are. Thank you Dixon!

Read More

Source: Wild Shores of Singapore

Dead fish update: Pasir Ris, Seletar Dam, Sembawang
By Ria Tan, 27th February 2015;

Today I had a quick look at the western shores of Pasir Ris. There were a few large dead fishes and many smaller ones. All appeared to be wild fishes. Also, dead cuttlefishes and horseshoe crabs. I didn’t see any dead farm fishes. Sightings of dead fishes at Seletar Dam (Benjamin Li) and Sembawang (Tan Sijie) were also shared recently.

Timothy Hromatka, a fish farmer off Ubin also shared more about the recent fish deaths on the farms.

Read More

Source: Wild Shores of Singapore