Photos: Benjamin Seetor, The Straits Times, Gills N Claws

Fish farm might close due to oil spill
Fish farms in Pulau Ubin in costly ordeal after oil spill from vessels collision reaches them
By Kimberly Lim, 7th January 2017;

It has been an anxious three days for Mr Steven Suresh, who has been shuttling between his office in mainland Singapore and his fish farm located in north Pulau Ubin.

Gills N Claws, an aquaculture company, has a total of $500,000 worth of seafood at stake because of the oil spill in Johor, said the 46-year-old chief executive officer.

He is waiting for the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to release the results of food safety tests conducted on the fish samples.

The Tuesday night collision between two container vessels saw 300 tonnes of oil spillage.

By the following night, patches of oil were seen along the beaches of Singapore’s north-eastern coast.

Mr Steven said: “This whole experience has been horrifying and shocking. I really do not know what to do.

"We have been waiting for AVA’s reply to find out if we can still salvage any of our fish.”

The future for the company remains uncertain for now, he added.

“We have no insurance for the farm because it was not made available to us. We were affected by the red tide during the previous two years and we were just recovering from that when the oil spill happened,” he said.

Mr Steven expects the results to be out by tomorrow. But sales to restaurants, fishmongers and wholesalers have been brought to a standstill.

He said: “We have 40 tonnes of fish stocked up for the Chinese New Year, with each tonne costing up to $7,000. From my experience, my fish are definitely gone already. We cannot pull out the net or feed the fish.

"We also have four tonnes of lobsters, costing $55,000 per tonne. As far as I know, the lobsters are gone too – nobody will want to buy lobsters with oil coated on them.”

Mr Steven added: “The clean-up for the farm will take at least four months to complete and our business will have to stop because of it.”

He said the farm has to undergo structural changes on top of purchasing new nets and high-density floating polyethylene cubes.

There is a high chance the company will close down because of the time required to clean up, he said.

Mr Tan Choon Teck, owner of FC57E Fish Farm, also sent fish samples to AVA for testing.

The 54-year-old said in Mandarin: “AVA came to collect the fish sample on Wednesday but has not notified us on when the results will be released.

"I have not estimated the losses made but some of my small fishes have died.”

He added: “I have been feeling very anxious because I am afraid that more fish will die. I have also been very busy with cleaning the oil.”

Some fish farms have managed to escape the ordeal.

Among them is The Fish Farmer, located in the south of Pulau Ubin.

Mr Malcolm Ong, 53, the chief executive officer, said: “We were unaffected by the oil spill but it came close to the farm and skirted right past us.

‘Small Community’

"I feel very lucky and fortunate, but also a bit pained for our fellow farmers because we are a small community. It is a big blow for them and we hope that they can recover from this.”

AVA has been visiting coastal fish farms in the East Johor Strait to assess the situation and assist in the clean-up, such as issuing oil absorbent pads and canvas to 25 farmers closest to the oil spill.

Some farms have reported loss of 250kg of fish.

AVA said: “To ensure food safety, AVA has collected fish samples for food safety tests and will continue to do so. We have also issued suspension of sales to 12 farms as (of yesterday).

"The suspension will be in place until food safety evaluations are complete. Fish available in the market is safe for consumption.”

Dr Leong Hon Keong, group director of AVA’s technology and industry development group, said: “As compared to the day before, we have observed more farms with tainted nets and structures in the East Johor Strait due to the tidal movement.

"AVA will continue to monitor the situation and assist the fish farmers, including assisting in cleanup efforts.”

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said: “Clean-up operations are still on going at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, fish farms at Nenas Channel, and at Noordin beach, northern coastline of Pulau Ubin. Oil spill response vessels as well as containment booms and spill recovery equipment, such as harbour busters, skimmers and absorbent booms and pads, have also been deployed.”

Source: The New Paper

Photos: Twitter / @_MAYBMR, @STANBERRYYY

Motorcyclist runs over Wild Boar in SLE crash
Motorcyclist thrown several metres in collision with Wild Boar on expressway
By Marian Govin, 23rd April 2016;

He was riding his motorcycle home after work when he crashed into something that sent him sprawling onto the hard tarmac of the Seletar Expressway (SLE).

When he turned around, he was surprised to see that he had run over a Wild Boar (Sus scrofa vittatus).

The 49-year-old senior manager, who wanted to be known only as Mr Krishnan, was on the SLE, heading towards the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) before Upper Thomson Road, when the accident happened at about 8.30pm on Thursday.

Mr Krishnan told Shin Min Daily News that his view of the sides of the road had been partially blocked before he ran over the Boar.

The animal was killed in the incident.

“There were cars on my left and right side and they blocked my line of sight,” Mr Krishnan, who suffered minor injuries, told the Chinese daily.

“As the cars drove past, an animal suddenly jumped out and before I could take a proper look, I was flung two to three metres off my bike.

"I only knew it was a Wild Boar after I turned around.”

Traffic police helped to move the carcass onto the road shoulder and contacted the National Environment Agency (NEA) to clear it.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) told The New Paper it received a call about the incident at 8.30pm.

It said Mr Krishnan was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he was treated for abrasions and pain in his right shoulder.

The area where the accident happened is known to have a growing population ofWild Boars.

About 80 Wild Boars were culled by the National Parks Board in the Lower Peirce area between 2012 and 2014 to improve public safety and to reduce the animals’ damage to the vegetation.

Wild Boars are not the only animals that get killed crossing roads.

In the past year alone, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has received eight calls about Monkeys (Long-tailed Macaques) (Macaca fascicularis) being involved in accidents.

Six of the Monkeys died, while the remaining two were treated and released back into the wild.

Mr Ben Lee, 54, the founder of Nature Trekker, said: “Animals like Boars and Pangolins (Manis javanica) are rare in Singapore, so they are ‘special’ and tend to get a lot of attention when it comes to road kill.”

Source: The New Paper

Based on the location, it’s likely that the Wild Boar had been trying to move between the small forest patches that remain along some stretches of the Seletar Expressway; signs of Wild Boar presence have been documented within the (shrinking) forest patches of Tagore and Lentor, located south of the expressway, and Springleaf on the north.

CARCASS:The dead dolphin that had washed up on East Coast Park yesterday morning. PICTURE COURTESY OF MR RAJESHPAL SINGH KHALSA

Dead dolphin washes up on East Coast Park
20th July 2014;

Mr Rajeshpal Singh Khalsa was with his family at East Coast Park yesterday morning when they saw what was initially thought to be a large boulder on the beach.

But when they got closer, he saw that the “boulder” had a fin.

It turned out to be a 1.8m-long dead dolphin.

Mr Singh, 30, who said there was no stench, called the National Parks Board (NParks).

The New Paper on Sunday understands that the carcass has since been retrieved and will be handed over to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which is part of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Mr N. Sivasothi, a biological sciences lecturer at NUS, says that the museum had previously dealt with washed up dolphin carcasses in 2005 and 2008.

In both incidents, the mammals had been washed up on Labrador beach in the west.

There had been another case of a washed up dolphin carcass on the ECP just earlier this week, he said. But in thatinstance, the flesh was mostly gone from the carcass.

“We will make arrangements to recover it for the museum, take tissue samples, preserve the bones for research and education purposes,” he said.

Ge added: “Preserving the skeleton allows visitors to the museum and at our annual Festival of Biodiversity realise we have a regional marine heritage worth protecting.”

He said the most commonly sighted dolphin species in our waters is the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), also known as the pink dolphin.

In our northern waters, sightings of the sea cow, or Dugong (Dugong dugon), are more common. These are likely to be part of the population whose habitat is in Sungei Johor, Mr Sivasothi said.

He added that their carcasses have also washed up on our shores in areas including Changi Beach, ECP and even Pulau Tekong. The last case, which was in Pulau Tekong, happened in 2006.

Members of the public who see such carcasses can call the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 9783-7782.

Source: The New Paper

2,000 fish die in Geylang Bahru drain
22nd March 2014;

About 2,000 dead fish were found floating in a large drain near Block 59A, Geylang Bahru early on Wednesday morning.

Witnesses spotted various types of fish floating at around 7am, reported Shin Min Daily News.

Mr Lee, 40, who has been fishing in the area for three years, said the fish could have swum into the drain from a nearby river because of oxygen shortage in the water.

A school bus driver who gave his name only as Mr Tan, 53, said waters in the big drains in the nearby Kallang Bahru area had turned green recently. Others residents feared that if the water is polluted, it may affect the area’s biodiversity

Source: The New Paper (Mirror)