Daily Decay (27th May 2018)

Daily Decay (27th May 2018): Unidentified Snapper (Lutjanus sp.) @ Changi

This was one of the many casualties of a fish mass death in February 2014, caused by a harmful algal bloom in the eastern Straits of Johor.

Many of the offshore fish farms in the Straits of Johor raise several species of Snapper, such as John’s Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) and Crimson Snapper (Lutjanus erythropterus), for human consumption, so this carcass is likely to be one of the farmed fishes, instead of being of wild origin.

Daily Decay (4th March 2018)


Daily Decay (4th March 2018): Unidentified Snapper (Lutjanus sp.) @ Changi

This was one of the many casualties of a fish mass death in February 2014, caused by a harmful algal bloom in the eastern Straits of Johor.

Many of the offshore fish farms in the Straits of Johor raise several species of Snapper, such as John’s Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) and Crimson Snapper (Lutjanus erythropterus), for human consumption, so this carcass is likely to be one of the farmed fishes, instead of being of wild origin.

Daily Decay (15th February 2018)

Daily Decay (15th February 2018): Unidentified Snapper (Lutjanus sp.) @ Changi

This was one of the many casualties of a fish mass death in February 2014, caused by a harmful algal bloom in the eastern Straits of Johor.

Many of the offshore fish farms in the Straits of Johor raise several species of Snapper, such as John’s Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) and Crimson Snapper (Lutjanus erythropterus), for human consumption, so this carcass is likely to be one of the farmed fishes, instead of being of wild origin.

  1. Gills N Claws’ farm manager, Steven Wong, holds up a fish covered in oil.
  2. The Green Mussels that Gills N Claws breeds as food supply for lobsters is covered in oil.

Photos: Winnie Goh

Fish farms reeling from impact of oil spill off Johor
By Monica Kotwani & Vanessa Lim, 5th January 2017;

At a fish farm north of Pulau Ubin, workers panicked on Wednesday (Jan 4) when they saw what was meant to be their Chinese New Year harvest turn belly-up in the water.

The farm, owned by Gills N Claws, told Channel NewsAsia it lost about 1,000 fish, after a nearby vessel collision the day before saw about 300 tonnes of oil spill into the sea. Gills N Claws said the oil seeped into its nets containing fish such as Red Snappers (Lutjanus sp.), Pearl Groupers (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus x lanceolatus) and the Silver Pomfret (Pampus argenteus).

“Our workers scrambled to put up canvasses outside the floating platforms provided by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA),” said Gills N Claws’ head of operations, Winston Siv Raj. “But 70 per cent of the fish meant to be sold in time for Chinese New Year have died.”

The farm also breeds Crabs (likely Swimming Crabs) (F. Portunidae) and Lobsters (Spiny Lobsters) (Panulirus sp.). These too were found coated in engine oil, as were the Green Mussels (Perna viridis) grown as food for the lobsters. Farm manager Steven Wong lifted ropes on which the mussels were growing, only to find them caked with oily sludge.

When Channel NewsAsia arrived at the farm, staff from AVA and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) were on the scene, with AVA officials packing a Red Snapper and some mussels for tests at their laboratory.

Mr Raj said estimates the damage could run up to S$700,000, as the company also needs to change all its fish nets and floats, as well as supporting anchor points and connecting ropes that were ruined by the oil.

“This does not include the fish and lobsters that survived. The figures could change drastically if the AVA finds that the lobsters and fish taken for lab tests are unfit for consumption,” he said.

Other fish farms are still trying to assess their losses. At a farm owned by 2 Jays, the surface of the water surrounded by netting was coated with a thick layer of black oil and the air smelled of diesel.

Workers were throwing large cloth pads into the water in a bid to soak up the oil, but beyond that, they were unable to do much.

Its operations manager Timothy Ng said his workers could not check their fish stocks without lifting the nets. However if they did, they would risk killing more fish, as the surviving fish could choke on the oil floating on top if they came near the surface, he said. To prevent fish from suffocating in this fashion, workers were also instructed not to feed them.

The co-owner of Farm 85 Aquaculture, Andrew Sim, meantime, was at a loss for words, gazing out at his oil-coated fish pens. “I don’t know what to do … It’s too much already.“

Sale of fish at 3 farms suspended

AVA had said on Wednesday that two farms saw fish deaths due to the oil spill and that up to 200kg of fish had died.

On Thursday, it said more farms were found to have tainted nets and structures, compared to the day before due to tidal movement. It has issued oil absorbent pads and canvas to 22 farmers closest to the oil spill site to help protect their fish stock.

Aside from the two farms however, "most of the farms in the same area did not report fish mortality,” said Dr Leong Hon Keong, group director of AVA’s Technology and Industry Development Group.“There is minimal impact to supply. Nevertheless, AVA will continue to monitor the situation and assist the fish farmers, including assisting in clean-up efforts.”

As a precautionary measure, AVA has collected fish samples for food safety tests and will continue to do so, it said. The authority also issued orders to three farms to suspend sales of fish until food safety evaluations are complete.

A total of 17 vessels and more than 220 personnel have been mobilised for a massive clean-up in the wake of the oil spill, MPA said. Changi Beach was also partially closed on Wednesday as a safety precaution.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia: Pollution killing tonnes of caged fish in Kinabatangan


By , 2016;

Tonnes of caged fish were destroyed in Sabah’s interior Kinaba­tangan district, the se­cond time in less than a year.

It is believed that river pollution caused the fish to die.

The fish, reared by villagers at Kampung Mumiang in the country’s Ramsar site (a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention) were worth thousands and fed hundreds of people.

Mumiang, located in the Lower Kinaba­tangan Segama Wetlands, has no road access and is about an hour away by speedboat from Sandakan town.

The village’s Development and Security Committee head Mada Hussin said after the first incident in November last year, the authorities collected water samples and gave new fish stocks based on a subsidy mechanism to the affected villagers.

“Now, most fish from this new stock have been destroyed.

"We only managed to salvage a few of them the moment we noticed something amiss.

"We want the Government to review its policies on collecting water and other relevant samples,” he said.

He said the villagers had no choice but to continue rearing caged fish with the hope that the incident would not repeat in future.

Mada added that the investiga­ting agencies should review their Standard Operating Procedures as the delay in collecting samples did not translate into data that would be useful for mitigation or enforcement measures.

He said in the latest incident in July, some 45 families lost four tonnes of caged fish such as Grou­pers(SubF. Epinephelinae) and Snappers (F. Lutjanidae) worth thousands of ringgit.

Mada said the Malangking river, a tributary of the Kinabatangan, might be polluted with run-off from an oil palm estate, especially during a downpour.

“There is nothing we can do, for example in terms of taking legal action against those who pollute the Malangking river or other waterways, impacting our livelihoods,” Mada said.

He suggested the setting up of sampling stations to enable community wardens to collect samples more frequently, quickly and get data collected by the community to be recognised.

Reacting to what happened in Mumiang, Ramsar Community Group Project lead facilitator Ne­­ville Yapp said a key focus of the project was related to water quality.

“We have identified the setting up of four water quality monitoring units in the near future under this project,” he added.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Pollution killing tonnes of caged fish in Kinabatangan

Malaysia: Villagers urge Govt to review sample collection policies


19th September 2016;

Having twice lost valuable caged fish within 10 months to what appears to be river pollution, a community in Malaysia’s largest Ramsar site wants the government to review its policies on collecting water and other relevant samples.

One recommendation is for agencies entrusted with investigating such cases to relook at their standard operating procedures (SOP) as the delay in collecting samples does not translate into data that would be useful for mitigation or enforcement measures.

In July, Mumiang Village Development and Security Committee head, Mada Hussin had said 45 families lost four tonnes of caged fish such as Groupers (SubF. Epinephelinae) and Snappers (F. Lutjanidae) worth thousands of ringgit.

He said some caged fish were worth up to RM50 per kilogramme, a lucrative alternative economic activity for villagers who traditionally depended on catching fish but were no longer able to, due to dwindling stocks.

Mada said results of water and fish samples collected by the state fisheries department, environmental protection department and the federal Department of Environment were not shared with fishermen at Kampung Mumiang, following cases of suspected pollution last November and two months ago.

“It would be useful to hold a dialogue with the relevant agencies so that we can collaborate and look at the possibility of appointing water quality wardens from the community.

"We propose sampling stations be set up so that these community wardens can collect samples quickly. We also need to see how data collected by the community can be recognised.

"The relevant agencies must also frequently collect samples. The loss of aquatic biodiversity in the Lower Kinabatangan is an issue that impacts us and which is close to our hearts,” he said in a statement here today.

After the estimated RM100,000 losses last November, villagers received fish stocks from the government based on a subsidy mechanism and supplemented the supply by purchasing more.

“Now, most from this new stock have been destroyed. We only managed to salvage a few fish, the moment we noticed something amiss,” he said.

Mada believed the Malangking river, a tributary of the Kinabatangan was polluted with run-offs from an oil palm estate, especially when it rained heavily.

The waterway then turned light green, indicating algae-rich water which then impacted caged fish reared downstream.

Reacting to what happened in Mumiang, Ramsar Community Group Project lead facilitator Neville Yapp said a key focus of the project was related to water quality.

“We need the government to be supportive of this, including how data collected by the community can be taken as valid. We have identified the setting up of four water quality monitoring units in the near future under this project,” he said.

The Ramsar Community Group project falls under Forever Sabah, an ecology of partnerships that works to transform innovative visions for Sabah’s future into actionable solutions.

Mumiang is located in the Lower Kinabatangan Segama Wetlands, has no road access and is about an hour’s journey by speedboat from Sandakan town.

Mada said villagers had no choice but to continue rearing caged fish despite the risk of once again losing their fish in future.

“This has become a nightmare for us as there is not much else we can do here to earn a livelihood. We have families to raise and food to put on the table,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia: Villagers urge Govt to review sample collection policies

Malaysia: El Niño: Thousands of fish fry die, breeders incur heavy losses

17th March 2016;

About 10,000 Carp (F. Cyprinidae), Snapper (F. Lutjanidae) and Grouper (SubF. Epinephelinae) fish fry bred in Kuala Sangga and Kuala Sepetang have died due to the hot and dry weather caused by the current El Niño phenomenon sweeping the country.

The death of tens of thousands of fish fry has cost fish farmers hundreds of thousands of ringgit.

Breeder Chuah Thye Guan, 50, said he put thousands of Carp fish fry in the cages last week, but was shocked to find them all dead.

“I found the sea water had receded to the bottom due to the hot weather, causing the fish fry in the cages to die because of the lack of oxygen.

"We are forced to use a generator set to insert oxygen into the nets,” he told Bernama, here, Thursday.

Chuah claimed that he had incurred losses of more than RM100,000.

He said the caged fish farming industry faced the threat during the hot season and this was the second time he had been affected after 2009.

Another breeder, who only wanted to be known as Ong, said he had also lost more than RM100,000 due to the hot weather and rising temperature of the sea water.

Kuala Sangga and Kuala Sepetang have about eight caged fish breeders.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia: El Niño: Thousands of fish fry die, breeders incur heavy losses

Indonesia: Phytoplankton population explosion caused death of fish in Ancol: Indonesian Institute of Sciences

2nd December 2015;

The mass death of fish, found washed ashore North Jakartas Ancol Dream Land beach, was due to a population boom of the Coscinodiscus species of phytoplankton, noted the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

In a press statement here on Wednesday, the Oceanic Research Center of LIPI said the phytoplankton population had significantly reduced the oxygen content in the water.

According to LIPI, based on tests conducted on the water samples taken from three locations on Ancol beach on Tuesday, the oxygen content in the water was found to be very low at only 0.765 milliliters per liter (ml/L), while the normal oxygen level is about four to five ml/L.

The low content of dissolved oxygen is the cause of the mass death of fish at Ancol beach. Based on the observation, the density of phytoplankton was recorded at one to two million cells per liter of water.

Coscinodiscus spp. is one of the species that is actually not dangerous, but since it has a large number of cells, it absorbs a significant amount of oxygen, thereby resulting in a drop in the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Thousands of dead fish were found washed up along the Ancol beach early on Monday.

The fish species found dead included Milkfish (Chanos chanos), Mullet (F. Mugilidae), and Snapper (F. Lutjanidae).

Source: Antara

Indonesia: Phytoplankton population explosion caused death of fish in Ancol: Indonesian Institute of Sciences

Indonesia: Thousands of fish found dead in Ancol

1st December 2015;

Thousands of dead fish of various species washed up along Ancol beach in North Jakarta on Monday, allegedly due to toxin contamination from nearby rivers.

“Ancol management reported that it had found many dead fish on its beach early on Monday morning. When we arrived at the scene, there was around a ton of fish washed up on it,” said law enforcement head of Jakarta Water Police division Comr. Edi Guritno.

He added that there were various types of fish, such as Snapper (F. Lutjanidae), Mullet (F. Mugilidae), Grouper (SubF. Epinephelinae) and Milkfish (Chanos chanos).

According to Edi, after the report, the water police immediately took measures to remove the dead fish from the coastline, as well as investigating the cause of their deaths.

He added that the police, in cooperation with Ancol management, had deployed a pickup truck and plastic bags to take the fish from the shore to the Ancol garbage dump, where they would be burned.

Edi said the police had sent samples of the fish and sea water to the Jakarta Maritime, Agriculture and Food Security Agency (KPKP) for scientific examination to confirm the cause of death.

Nonetheless, Edi said that the Ancol management and residents suspected that the fish had died of poisoning from pollutants carried by rivers that flowed into the sea in the Ancol area.

Separately, head of the KPKP’s fisheries division, Lilik Litasari, offered a similar interpretation.

Lilik told reporters that she had met with a number of Ancol management staff and residents and also examined the condition of the water.

Based on her preliminary investigation, she concluded that the waters had been contaminated with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a colorless poison carried in the mud from the rivers. According to her, the H2S deprived the sea water of oxygen, causing the death of the fish.

According to her, the poisonous mud had possibly flowed to the sea during rain last Friday and Saturday.

“This is a phenomenon that usually occurs early in the rainy season after a long drought. A large volume of water flows from the land to the sea, carrying along sediment that has been deposited in the rivers,” Lilik said.

However, Lilik emphasized that the current theory was only based on the preliminary analysis and that the agency would make a final conclusion after receiving results from the laboratory.

She revealed that Monday’s incident was not the first for Ancol’s management, as it had experienced a similar phenomenon previously, although not with an amount of dead fish as large as this.

Ancol management said that a similar incident occurred three years ago.

According to Pembangunan Jaya Ancol corporate communications manager Rika Lestari, the management had predicted Monday’s incident for over a week before the dead fish were discovered.

“A week ago, our field officers predicted this would occur as they saw foam on the sea water,” Rika said.

She added that in the name of safety the management was currently asking beach visitors not to swim on the beach.

Responding to the issue, an environmental activist from Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Mukri Friatna, urged the Jakarta administration to quickly examine the quality of its sea water considering that Monday’s incident was not the first of its kind.

He said that by examining the sea water the administration could identify what substances were in the water and thus discover if the water was polluted because of natural toxins or a result of bad waste management.

“In the end, they [the officials] can decide the best measures to reduce contamination in Jakarta’s seas,” Mukri said.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Thousands of fish found dead in Ancol

Malaysia: RM100,000 worth of fish found dead

28th November 2015;

Fish farmers in Kina­batangan ,the site of Malaysi’’s biggest Ramsar site, were stunned to find that all their fish, reared in cages, were dead.

“We noticed something amiss earlier. When dawn came the next day (last Friday), our worst fears were confirmed when we found all of them belly up,” said Kampung Mumiang Village Development and Security Committee head Mada Hussin.

The fish were reared in 50 cages.

Kampung Mumiang is located at the estuary of the Kinabatangan River and is about an hour away by speedboat from Sandakan.

The Convention on Wetlands of Inter­national Importance, better known as the Ramsar Convention, is an inter-governmental treaty that looks into conservation wetlands and their resources. There are six Ramsar sites in Malaysia.

Mada said the farmers lost Grouper (SubF. Epinephelinae), Snapper (F. Lutjanidae) and other types of fish, adding that the cost could come up to RM100,000.

This would impact about 50 families, he said.

“We want answers from the authorities. We want to know the cause. We want compensation from whoever is responsible for our losses,” Mada said.

The villagers, he said, would usually keep some fish for their own consumption and sell the rest.

“We have lost everything now,” he added.

He said the farmers were in a dilemma as they could not depend on catching fish at the nearby river due to dwindling numbers.

“The villagers are now waiting for test results on samples taken by the Fisheries Department.”

Mada said pollutants from a plantation could have flowed into the Malangking River, a tributary of the Kinabatangan.

“The last time we lost fish on this scale was about four years ago,” he said.

Cynthia Ong, the director of Forever Sabah which works towards an equitable and green economy, said such tragic events were typically associated with oxygen depletion in dead zones caused by fertiliser, palm oil mill effluents or disturbed peat soil.

“Studies in Malaysia and around the world showed that fisheries sustained by healthy mangroves are worth hundreds of dollars per hectare to the Sabah economy,” Ong said.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: RM100,000 worth of fish found dead