Large stock of fishes found dead in the sea cage near Johor Straits.

Malaysia: Large numbers of dead fish found near Tanjung Kupang
By Low Sock Ken, 8th March 2015;

Large numbers of fish were found dead in sea cages near Tanjung Kupang here last week, dealing a blow to fish breeders who said the losses had severely impacted their income.

DAP state assemblyman for Pengkalan Rinting Cheo Yee How said initial losses was estimated at RM1 million and urged the related authorities to render help to the affected fish breeders.

Fish breeder, Goh Lai Soon, 37, said the occurrence of the dead fish began sometime in early March.

Goh who has been breeding fish for seven years, said the red tide phenomenon was over last month and was not a likely cause for the large numbers of dead fish in the area.

He said fish breeders in the area were puzzled, as they had taken prevention measures to mitigate the impact of plankton bloom that always triggered a massive amount of fish deaths.

Goh said he had no choice but to stop his fish breeding business for now due to the losses sustained.

He said samples of the dead fish and water have yet to be submitted to the Gelang Patah Fisheries Department for analysis.

There are about twenty sea cage fish farmers along the Johor Straits near Tanjung Kupang.

Source: The Sun Daily

The fish in the photo might be Four-finger Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum).

Gills of the fish are darkened due to “red tide”. (Photo: Frank Tan, Marine Life Aquaculture)

Fish farmers affected by fish deaths will receive help from AVA
AVA is working with external agencies, companies and experts to help fish farmers recover their operations after the sudden mass deaths of their fish stocks last month.
By Saifulbahri Ismail, 5th March 2015;

Fish farmers affected by the recent fish deaths will get help to recover and restart their operations, as well as increase their resilience against environmental challenges.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) will help farmers take early action to mitigate the impact of plankton bloom by putting in place robust contingency plans. It is also working with external agencies, companies and experts to look into possible solutions to minimise the impact of plankton bloom in the long term.

It recently contracted five companies to work on systems that offer a sustainable option for coastal fish farms, to minimise exposure to environmental changes.

Last month, many local farms at the East Johor Straits were affected by a plankton bloom that triggered a massive amount of fish deaths.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

Photos by Frank Tan of Marine Life Aquaculture

Large stocks of fish wiped out by plankton blooms
Several fish farmers in the East have seen large stocks of their fish wiped out after the coast was hit by a tide containing huge plankton blooms.
28th February 2015;

Several fish farmers in the East saw large stocks of their fish wiped out early Saturday (Feb 28) morning after the coast was hit by a tide containing huge plankton blooms.

When this happens fish have to compete with the micro-organisms for oxygen, which could cause them to die.

Philip Lim, who owns three fish farms, said: “It’s huge. It’ll cost me about S$50,000. All the fishes have come in just about three months ago, some of them just came in one month ago.”

Mr Lim sent Channel NewsAsia videos of the scene on Saturday, saying his entire stock of fish was either dead or dying.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) had said in a statement on Friday that it would monitor the situation, and work closely with the fish farmers to mitigate the situation.

It had warned the farmers early last week after detecting elevated plankton levels in the area, said AVA.

AVA has also deployed waste disposal vessels to assist farmers in the disposal of dead fish at the East Johor Straits caused by the elevated plankton levels.

On Feb 18, coastal fish farms at the Straits reported dead fish in the area. Since then, AVA has been visiting the fish farmers to ascertain the situation, offer advice to them to mitigate the situation, such as canvas-bagging, and collecting fish samples from the affected farms for analyses.

AVA said some farms have carried out emergency harvest of the fish in view of the elevated plankton levels.

It had earlier reported that laboratory tests conducted did not detect marine biotoxins in the fish. AVA said fish harvested from local farms are safe for consumption.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

The bottom photo shows a closeup of several dead Four-finger Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum). The news clip on the Channel NewsAsia site showed footage of a floating fish cage full of dead Snubnose Pompano (Trachinotus blochii), as well as a dying Spotted Sicklefish (Drepane punctata).

AVA support for farmers hit by mass fish deaths
By Grace Chua, 14th February 2014;

Fish farmers affected by the recent mass fish deaths do not have to worry about missing mandated productivity targets, said Minister of State for National Development Maliki Osman, during a visit to coastal fish farms on Thursday.

Their losses will be considered when their production is counted, and they can turn the setback into a chance to improve their farms, said Dr Maliki, who met several farmers during his visit to two farms off Changi affected by mass die-offs.

In all, 34 farms in the eastern Johor Strait and five in the west Johor Strait have lost some 160 tonnes of fish so far. The die-offs were attributed to low levels of dissolved oxygen and a plankton bloom due to hot weather and neap tides, when high tides are at their lowest, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

While fish farms must produce 17 tonnes of fish per half hectare of farm space to keep their licences, Dr Maliki said “it’s only fair that we tell the farmers it’s okay, we look at how much losses you have suffered this time round, your productivity performance will be measured in line with the losses you have suffered”.

The affected farms were also rearing fish more vulnerable to poor conditions, such as Grouper (F. Serranidae), Golden Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) and Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum), he added. Singapore’s farms produce about 6 per cent of the fish consumed here, the AVA said.

But fish in the market are safe to eat: the dead fish have all been disposed of properly, he said.

Dr Maliki, who is also South East District mayor, said the South East CDC would offer support to the families of affected Singaporean farmers and workers.

He said the authorities would also help fish farmers tap a $30 million AVA fund meant for boosting food production here, to improve aeration systems for example. But farmers must pay for equipment up front first, then submit receipts to get reimbursements.

Farmer Goh Joo Hiang, 60, who had lost up to $200,000 worth of fish, said the losses should also factor in next year’s productivity targets. “Even if we bought two-inch fry now, it would take a year to raise them.”

Meanwhile, the dry spell since mid-January has meant that more water has to be pumped into reservoirs.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that water agency PUB has been running Singapore’s desalination and Newater plants “at close to full capacity”. The two desalination plants here can meet up to a quarter of Singapore’s water needs, with a combined output of 100 million gallons per day (mgd).

Source: The Straits Times (Mirror)

Mr Teh Aik Hua showing Dr Maliki Osman dead fish at his farm. He estimated that his total losses amounted to more than S$1 million. Photo: Ernest Chua

AVA to ‘mitigate’ farmers’ targets in light of fish deaths
By Kenneth Tan, 14th February 2014;

It has been a tale of woe for 39 fish farms along the Johor Straits, but Minister of State for National Development Maliki Osman said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) stands ready to help farmers affected by one of the biggest mass fish deaths in recent years, as well as to prevent future incidents.

Farmers had in the wake of last weekend’s incident raised concerns over whether they could meet the minimum production target of 17 tonnes of fish per half-hectare space, which is part of AVA’s licensing conditions for coastal fish farms.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after visiting two farms off Changi, Dr Maliki said this year’s assessment may be mitigated. “If this year’s assessment … is affected by such a situation, then it is only fair we will tell the farmers, ‘It’s okay, we will mitigate, we will look at how much losses you have incurred … your productivity, the performance we measured in line with the losses you suffered’,” he added.

In all, about 160 tonnes of fish were reported to have died. Two of the farmers whom Dr Maliki visited reported suffering massive losses. Mr Teh Aik Hua of Kelong FC 117 estimated that his total losses amounted to more than S$1 million. “60 tonnes of my 70 tonnes of fish have died,” he said. Mr Teh said he hopes the AVA will be able to help his farm back on to its feet, by offering subsidies for business expenses.

Dr Maliki noted that the dead fish included species such as Groupers (F. Serranidae), Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) and Golden Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus), which are the most susceptible to low levels of dissolved oxygen in the waters or a plankton bloom or both, as well as the hot weather. While this “is a very adverse situation”, the incident could help to improve farming methods and technology to prevent future recurrence, he added.

Dr Maliki also assured Singaporeans that fish on sale at markets here is safe for consumption as all the dead fish have been disposed appropriately. The AVA had collected samples from the affected farms for laboratory analysis, but no marine biotoxins were detected.

The impact to food supply will be minimal, the AVA added. In 2012, local farms produced about 5,100 tonnes of fish consumed here, but Singapore imported about 104,000 tonnes of fish from 75 sources.

Source: TODAY (Mirror)

Stinky mess: Dead fish floating at one of the fish farms in Tanjung Kupang in the Johor Straits near Gelang Patah.

Malaysia: Breeders: Project causing fish deaths
By Yee Xiang Yun, 14th February 2014;

Land reclamation around the Tanjung Kupang area has been causing mass deaths of fishes in farms, claim breeders.

At least 10 fish farms and 250 traditional fishermen are affected after fish started dying in large numbers since Monday.

Dead fish could also be seen floating along the waters from Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya to Tanjung Kupang, and these include jenahak (Snapper) (F. Lutjanidae), kerapu (Grouper) (F. Serranidae), senangin (Threadfin) (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) and ikan merah (Mangrove Jack) (Lutjanus argentimaculatus).

Fish farmer Lee Boon Hock, 30, said he suffered losses of more than RM150,000 in three days as more than 90% of his fish as well as 70,000 senangin fry had died.

“We can only salvage what is left but those fish still have to be tested to see if they are safe for consumption,” he said at his fish farm near Kampung Pendas, right below the Second Link here yesterday.

He noticed that the sea water had been polluted and turned brownish after the land reclamation project began about a month ago.

Kampung Ladang/Tanjung Kupang Fisher­men Club chairman Ibrahim Atan said he had received lots of complaints, especially from fishermen in Kampung Ladang, Tanjung Kupang, Kampung Poh and Tanjung Pelepas.

He said for many of them, fishing was their source of income and the incident had caused their catch to drop by 50% since Monday.

Source: The Star

Farmers losing S$15,000 to S$300,000 as mass fish deaths look set to continue
By Kenneth Tan and Amanda Lee, 13th February 2014;

Fish farmers yesterday continued to add up their losses as the mass fish deaths resulting from the low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water showed no sign of abating, while National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan pledged that the Government would “do its utmost"€ to help farmers.

Farmers TODAY spoke to said they have each incurred losses ranging from S$15,000 to S$300,000 and, with uncertainty over how long the situation will last, they hope the authorities can help in the interim, as well as provide long-term support such as better monitoring of algae and plankton levels in the water.

Others are doing their best to mitigate losses by selling the remainder of their living fish as quickly as possible or moving them to less affected waters.

In a blog post yesterday, Mr Khaw said he had been told by Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) Chief Executive Officer Tan Poh Hong that the situation was serious, with those rearing more susceptible species such as Grouper (SubF. Epinephelinae), Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) and Golden Trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) more badly affected, while some farms had lost their entire stock.

"€œWe had immediately sent in more workers to deploy aeration systems to help normalise the water conditions and also to assist in the disposal of dead fish,"€ he said. "€œI have asked MND and AVA to continue to help our farmers and look into their requests to see how best we can help them in the current situation.”

On Tuesday, the AVA said about 160 tonnes of dead fish had been found in farms on both the East and West Johor Straits. This could have been caused by a plankton bloom — brought on by hot weather or the neap tide — which can drain seawater of oxygen.

A similar incident occurred in 2009, where more than 200,000 dead fish washed up along Pasir Ris beach, but Mr Gary Zhang, who has been a farmer for more than 33 years, said this year’€™s spell is the worst he has seen.

He said an algae bloom, which could also be triggered by the lack of rain, could be another factor behind the deaths. When algae die, the decay process deprives water of oxygen. He has moved the rest of his livestock to safer waters in Malaysia for the time being.

The AVA has been collecting fish carcasses from affected fish farms and has placed a skid tank at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, where farmers can dispose of dead fish.

Mr Joseph Wee, who owns Blue Marine Fish Farm, said he had also dried some of his dead fish to feed other marine livestock. About seven tonnes of his fish have died, costing him about S$300,000.

Mr Timothy Ng, President of Fish Farmers Association of Singapore, which has about 40 members, said the association hopes to have a dialogue with the authorities, adding that it did not have the resources to help farmers much.

The Government could help by designating new sites to set up fish farms, such as north of Pulau Tekong or in waters with less algae count, which can be used to house stock in the event of a crisis of this nature, Mr Zhang suggested. A team could also monitor the algae or plankton levels in the waters weekly and alert farmers when levels become critical so precautionary measures can be taken.

“If you are prepared, you can place your fish in a canvas bag, put a net underneath while filtering the algae from the water. You can move the fish to a safer place then,” Mr Zhang said. “In 2009, we were not so well prepared. This time, the moment our fish started dying on Saturday, we moved the rest of them by Sunday.”

Source: TODAY (Mirror)