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First reef survey of 2011 20 May 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Tales from the N2 bar.

Finally, our reef survey for the southern islands of Singapore got underway! Our first site: Semakau, site S2. Only 4 people signed up for the survey, probably due to the string of long weekends for this month. Nonetheless, three “old guards” (Kee Seng, Chay Hoon and myself) soldiered on, this time joined by a new volunteer, Sian.

The survey went well – for starters, the visibility was great! At between 3 and 4m, we had no problems locating the site and setting up the marker buoys and laying the tapes. We finished the coral transects in good time, so much so that I could carry out the fish survey for the shallow as well. Kee Seng took charge of the invertebrates survey while buddied with Chay Hoon.

The visibility was good enough that you could vaguely see the seabed from the surface. Admittedly, this site is very shallow; the seabed is only at about 6-7m deep, but still for Singapore, that was very good! The trip was good not only for the visibility (which made working so much easier), but because we also topped up our karma in the process. A huge fish trap was found in the shallows. A sharp pair of scissors and a few deft snips later, the victims of the fish trap were released back into the wild.

The fish trap.

The largest victim in the trap – a huge grouper. It looked like it had been in the cage for a while – its skin on both sides of its body were flayed off, and the lower lip was badly bruised.

A second, smaller grouper was also in the trap.

A large Black-blotched porcupine puffer (Diodon litorusus) was the third victim.

A large cuttlefish lucky to be still alive, unlike its two unfortunate fellows (image below).


While I am not one to crusade the ills of fishing for a livelihood (after all, I do still eat fish), I certainly take offense that 1) the fish trap was left seemingly abandoned, 2) weighed down with live corals and to top it off, 3) harvesting from an already depauperate area like our southern islands.

Fish trap weighed down by live corals.

To round off a good trip, we also spotted some interesting creatures:

An Alligator pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus) slinking back to the seagrass bed after it was spotted hiding among some dislodged Enhalus seagrass, and chased back to the seabed.

Sphaeramia nematopterus, the so-called Pajama cardinalfish. Also known as the Spotted cardinalfish

A commensal shrimp on a sea whip.

All in all a good day’s work. 🙂



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