May 21, 2007

Heartbreak at Sentosa

It is always sad when we film a doomed shore. With work possibly starting soon on Sentosa's shores, we don't have much time to document it. As if this wasn't disheartening enough, we came across a freshly laid drift net. In it were entangled a pair of Coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas).
Our Coastal horseshoe crabs are listed on Singapore's Red List, mostly due to habitat loss. The male is usually smaller, and often seen clinging onto the back of the larger female.

The crew stops work to free the trapped animals. Unfortunately, this is a situation we encounter frequently.
Andy documents the effort.It is a back breaking and delicate task as the net is fine and gets stuck in the fragile limbs of the horseshoe crabs. If we pull too hard, we might break these limbs.

The animals were eventually released intact, and the drift net removed from the shore.

What is really sad is that these animals are not targeted by the fishermen. Such by-catch are often discarded, injured or dead. Budak blogs more about the heart-breaking waste of driftnets and other traps on our shores. And the manta blog also reported poaching recently at Changi.

Our shores die first by inches. Killed and carted away in pieces by irresponsible people. Stifled by silt stirred up by coastal activities. Ignored by most people, who assume there can't be anything alive or interesting in our murky waters.

Other recent posts about Sentosa's imperiled shore:
Singapore from Sentosa on the budak blog
Sentosa marine life to give way to IR on the urban forest blog
The Other Side of Sentosa shores on the urban forest blog

2 comments:

Siyang said...

Perhaps someone can bring along a pair of small scissors in future trips to cut nets?

ria said...

Alas Siyang, scissors have become a standard issue item for all our trips because of the regular encounters with drift nets.

You are right of course. Scissors are the only way to quickly release trapped animals without hurting them.