Thousands of dead fish spotted at Pasir Ris Beach. Photo: Sean Yap
More dead fish, marine life at Pasir Ris beach
By Siau Ming En, 2nd March 2015;
Following the mass fish deaths that affected farmers along the eastern Johor Straits over the weekend, other marine wildlife, including species such as Frogfish (F. Antennariidae), horseshoe crab and pufferfish (F. Tetraodontidae), have washed up on Pasir Ris beach.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said the post-mortem results of fish samples collected from the affected farms indicated the fish had died as a result of gill damage caused by plankton, which are micro-organisms found in seawater. They can bloom or multiply quickly in a very short time, draining the seawater of oxygen.
“Laboratory tests conducted so far did not detect marine biotoxins in the fish,” it said.
Local fish farmers said the fish deaths on Saturday morning were worse than those during a similar event that happened at around the same time last year.
Mr Teh Aik Hua, who owns two fish farms in Sembawang and Pasir Ris, said he is left with only 1 per cent of his fish stock, compared with a 20 per cent survival rate last year.
“The problem is more serious this year. Even wild fish were found dead,” he added.
With the recent hot and dry weather, which is expected to stretch into this month, Mr Teh said about 40 per cent of his fish stock at the Sembawang farm has also died from the increasing salinity of the water.
Another fish farmer, who only wanted to be known as Simon, painted a similar picture. Nearly all his fish were wiped out this time, whereas last year, half of his stock had survived.
Around this time last year, there were fish deaths at 34 fish farms along the East Johor Straits and five farms along the West Johor Straits. About 160 tonnes of fish were found dead because of low levels of dissolved oxygen in the waters or a plankton bloom, or both, as well as the hot weather.
In response to queries, the AVA said fish harvested from local farms are safe for consumption.
The largest supermarket chain here, NTUC FairPrice, also assuaged consumer concerns, saying it imports fish from local farms that are accredited by the AVA, which has taken steps to ensure only live and healthy fish are being supplied.
FairPrice, which has more than 120 outlets, said some of these fish farms, including those in Pasir Ris, Changi, Lim Chu Kang and inland Kranji, have taken steps to move their harvests to other locations and increase the aeration of the water.
“As such, our supply of local fish remains unaffected,” said a FairPrice spokesperson.