Found a 20m long net secured at a remote beach on Lazarus Island this morning. All the fishes inside were dead – parrot fish and some other unknown species. With the help of fellow kayakers we released crabs, conchs, snails, and this monster (beauty) of a lobster. It was so large that it almost capsized my kayak with its strong tail flip, when I finally cut it free. It was probably attracted by dead fishes in the net. Thanks to Per (he wanted to eat the dead fishes so that we don’t ‘waste them’), who carried the heavy net all the way back to Sentosa for disposal!

Source: Kayakasia Facebook

The dead fishes in the photo have been identified as a Quoy’s Parrotfish (Scarus quoyi) and a Blackeye Thicklip Wrasse (Hemigymnus melapterus).

The Blacktip Reef Sharks, a Blue-spotted Fantail Ray and various species of crabs were found trapped yesterday in gillnets laid out at the island.
Photo: Vincent Choo

13 young sharks found dead in fishing nets at Lazarus Island
17th August 2015;

Thirteen juvenile Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) were found dead yesterday in three fishing nets at Lazarus Island, south of Singapore.

More than 30 crabs of various species, some fish and a Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma) were also found in the gillnets. Several crabs were able to survive after they were disentangled and released by those who found them.

Marine enthusiast Rene Ong, who discovered the casualties, said she was out on a regular intertidal trip when she saw the nets.

They had apparently been laid out overnight by someone who had booked a chalet on St John’s Island, which is connected to Lazarus Island by a link bridge.

“When I tried to remove the nets, the guys who placed them there came back. They were apologetic about the kill, but the damage was done,” said Ms Ong, who spent about four hours disentangling the live crabs from the nets. Joining her in her efforts were staff and a student from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

She added: “They wanted the nets back, so I could not just cut the nets and release the animals. Thankfully, they agreed to let me have the Sharks, and to release any catch that they couldn’t eat.”

The Shark carcasses are being stored in a freezer at the St John’s Island Marine Laboratory – part of the NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute. They will be passed to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum for analysis.

Dr Tan Heok Hui, a fish expert from the museum, told The Straits Times that some Sharks need to move in order to breathe. “Blacktip Reef Sharks are one of those that need to move constantly,” he said.

“From the photo, (the dead sharks) all appear to be of the same cohort, as they are all around the same size. Some could even be siblings,” he noted.

The find, although unfortunate, shows that Singapore’s waters are thriving with marine life.

Mr Stephen Beng from the Marine Conservation Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) said the presence of apex predators, such as Sharks, is a good indicator of a healthy reef.

He said that, since he first started diving here more than 25 years ago, Blacktip Reef Sharks and bottom-dwelling Bamboo Sharks (Chiloscyllium sp.) have been sighted at Singapore’s reefs.

He noted that, now, with a sanctuary in the form of the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, their populations are expected to grow.

Added Mr Beng, who runs the Sea Hounds dive centre: “Gillnetting on shallow reef flats not only wipes out fish, but also physically damages the reefs. The relevant agencies should regulate recreational fishermen to ensure that they do not damage our reefs.

"While our Government tries its best to balance development with environmental sustainability, we can do our part by… educating fishermen about practices that put pressure on our limited reef resources.”

Source: The Straits Times

One of 13 Blacktip Reef Sharks that was found caught in drift nets at Lazarus Island on Sunday, Aug 16, 2015.
Photo: St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory

More than 10 Blacktip Reef Sharks, 30 crabs found in fishing nets at Lazarus Island
By Audrey Tan, 16th August 2015;

Thirteen Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and more than 30 crabs of various species were found in three fishing nets on Lazarus Island, located south of the Republic, on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, all the Sharks caught in the gillnets were dead, although a number of crabs managed to survive after they were disentangled and released by the people who found them.

The St John’s Island Marine Laboratory said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning that the Shark carcasses are being stored in its freezer and will be passed to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum for analysis.

The lab, which is part of the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute, also called for responsible fishing.

Replying to one of the comments on the post, the institute said that the fishermen who laid the nets “were remorseful and not defensive when talked to about the destructive effects of (the) nets”.

The page also noted in a comment: “They (the fishermen) even helped to bring the nets to land. Nobody want this to happen. Let’s continue to remind each other on using our nature areas responsibly.”

Gillnets are nets typically made of monofilament or multifilament nylon that hang in the water column. According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the mesh sizes are designed to allow fish to get only their head through the netting, but not their body. The fish’s gills then get caught in the mesh as the fish tries to back out of the net.

Dr Tan Heok Hui, a fish expert from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, told The Straits Times that some Sharks need to move in order to respire. “Blacktip Reef Sharks are one of those that need to move constantly,” he said.

“From the photo, (the dead Sharks) all appear to be of the same cohort as they are all around the same size. Some could even be siblings,” he said.

The Sharks that were found dead are likely to have been juveniles.

Source: The Straits Times

Tapestry Turban Snail


Tapestry Turban Snail (Turbo petholatus)
Lazarus Island, 20th February 2011

Unlike the Dwarf Turban Snail (Turbo bruneus) and Ribbed Turban Snail (Turbo intercostalis), which are both commonly encountered on rocky shores and coral rubble in many parts of Singapore, the Tapestry Turban Snail is a much rarer species. Currently listed as Endangered in the 2008 edition of the Singapore Red Data Book, we’ve yet to find a live specimen on our shore trips.