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Blue Plan for Singapore – an update 22 May 2009

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So it seems the draft Blue Plan is finalised, and will be submitted to Minister Yaacob (MEWR) tomorrow (23 may 2009) at the opening of the Envirofest 2009. More on habitatnews. Good show to the drafting committee on getting the plan out in a timely manner!

Blue Plan for Singapore 24 Apr 2009

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The latest Blue Plan for Singapore has been released by local marine conservationists. You can read about it at the IYOR 08 Singapore site, and the WildSingapore site.

There’s also a big spread in the Straits Times, on page C10 (sorry, I don’t subscribe to the internet version of the ST), and probably on the other newspapers as well.

Good stuff!!

Earth Day 2009 talk 22 Apr 2009

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An old (well he’s old, too, but I meant that I’ve worked with him from a long time ago) collaborator and friend is stopping by Singapore and giving a talk for NParks’ celebration of Earth Day 2009.

Clive (Dr Wilkinson to you), among his many talents, is an internationally recognised coral reef scientist, and Co-ordinator of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. His Public Seminar is on “Status of Coral Reefs in Asia and the World: the search for solutions to reef decline.”

The talk will be held on Monday 27th April 2009, from 11am – 12pm, at the Function Hall, Botany Centre (SBG Tanglin Core). For us poor and always-in-need-of-food types, light refreshments will be provided after the seminar too!

Full details can be found here.

Noteworthy fishes of Singapore 18 Feb 2009

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I managed to get a paper (article 12 on the list) published in “Nature in Singapore“, and e-journal edited and published by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (formerly known as the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research). It documents 5 fishes recorded in Singapore that we’ve seen during surveys of the coral reefs. Three are new records, namely the titan triggerfish, Janss’ pipefish and humphead bannerfish. Of the remaining two, the polka dot grouper had not been observed live by divers locally, although two specimens exist in LKCNHM; the banded goby was previously reported by other researchers, but strangely, no specimen or photograph exists of it, until now.

It still amazes how much our marine environment, just a stone’s throw away from where most of us live, still harbours such beauties. Makes me wonder what else is out there.

Other “new” finds …. Lots of nudi’s at Colourful Clouds blog; sea stars on the Wild Shores blog and many more, I expect.

*Updated links 7 March 2017

The Semakau Project in the newspapers 17 Nov 2008

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I read with interest the big splash in the newspapers about Project Semakau, which was linked on the Wild Singapore site.

Semakau has had an interesting history – from fishing village, to refuge for Indonesian fishermen (back in the day when entering another nation’s territorial waters wasn’t that big a deal), and now, a “land anchor” for the Semakau Landfill.

I hope that the Semakau Project will not ignore the previous biodiversity work that had been done at Semakau, which includes:

– its reefs, past and present;

Semakau survey 2005

– the controversial New Scientist paper, and my comments on it, and my eternal hope that the reporters will write clearly about Semakau and distinguish between the Landfill and the natural island;

some photos that I took at Semakau (but no where near as prolific as Ria’s).

Team Seagrass’s work on the seagrass meadows at Semakau

I also hope that the Semakau Project takes note of the various groups and individuals (many of them on my blogroll) that have already put in time and effort on spreading the conservation message about our shores.

Here’s wishing them all the best in their efforts!


Good (G)reef celebrations!! 18 Sep 2008

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Shamelessly plagiarising from Charlie Brown, it was a good event Saturday, in which more than 400 people (adults and children) participated. The talks were all well presented (I thought this was my best talk to date), and covered a wide range of volunteer effort. So much so that our special guests, the crew from the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation ship SV Infinity, were suitably impressed with the enthusiasm and hard work put in by everyone there.

Aside from the interaction with visitors to our booths, I also learned several somethings new today from the conservation and IT guru, Siva – like how to use Twitter, and linking it to my Facebook account; and how to use forms in Google Documents. Siva also introduced me to Posterous, a new blog that accepts email and converts it to a blog entry automatically.

I’m not sure if this old dinosaur wants to be *so* connected … but it was interesting to finally know how to do the stuff that I’d been having difficulty with (like Google Documents). Was a most productive 45mins on the computer next to Siva, before getting back into the fray of the event.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted – my back and feet ached, I was hungry and a headache was starting to build up (probably from not drinking enough water, despite the 4 cans of 100plus, pilfered from Ria’s stash for volunteers).

The dismantling of the hall was much much faster (30-45 minutes) than the setting up (3-4 hours) – it always amazes me how much easier it is to “destroy” something than it is to build it up.

All in all, a good dive … er, I mean … day.

Other resources:
Blue Water Volunteers
Singapore Celebrates the Reef
My Flickr photos of the event

To Infinity and beyond 12 Aug 2008

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The SV Infinity, the research vessel of the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation, recently returned to its Asian home at Raffles Marina, two years after it left Singapore for it epic, 16,000 nautical mile journey, which covered Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and the The Solomon Islands.

Time really flies – I recall the last time I was on the Infinity in 2006, and she was just getting retro-fitted for the voyage by her crew at Raffles Marina. The steering wheel hadn’t even been fitted in yet, at that time. The decking of the main cabin was bare and there were wires hanging all over the place, a stark contrast to the “sea”-soned vessel that greeted me as I clambered aboard her tarp-covered deck.

Me on the deck of SV Infinity at Raffles Marina.

The named tarp covering the sails.

The sky seemed to reflect the melancholy feelings etched on the faces of the crew – it drizzled on and off for the whole time during the get-together. The last leg of the Infinity was to be from Singapore to Thailand, where the owner of the boat would be waiting.

As with all endings however, new doors open – for Gae and Laser, the monumental task of looking for a new vessel to continue the extraordinary work, for Klaus (the captain), it was to return home to take care of his family, for Ola to write about the research findings from the voyage, for Michelle the chef/visual artist to start the process of cataloging his image and video collection, and for the younger crew, to pursue their higher degree’s.

As before, when I first hooked up with the PCRF people on Heraclitus (their first ship), and now on the Infinity, my best wishes for safe journeys, wherever they are headed.

David?, Francis (Raffles Marina), myself, Orla (PCRF) and Abigail (PCRF).

Reef celebrations! 4 Aug 2008

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The International Year of the Reef 2008 Singapore (IYOR 08 Singapore) celebrates the reef!!

Date : 9 Aug (Sat)
Time : 10 am onwards
Location : Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tanglin Core)
Activities : Adopt a star, special talks, kid’s activities, exhibits …. and more!

Check out the details on the Singapore celebrates our reefs! blog