NParks: Those fishing should catch & release juveniles, endangered & threatened species of marine life

Can go to the supermarket for fish as well.

Belmont Lay | May 31, 2021, 11:53 AM

Members of the public who go fishing are encouraged to practise catch-and-release and fish in a responsible and sustainable manner, the National Parks Board (NParks) told CNA on May 30.

Karenne Tun, director of NParks' National Biodiversity Centre, said the catch-and-release method should be applied to "juveniles, endangered and threatened species".

Her comments were made in response to a recent video that showed an angler reeling in a significantly large ray at East Coast Park.

The creature is believed to be a white-spotted eagle ray, which is classified as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

It can grow up to 3m wide.

The fate of the catch is unknown as the video ended before showing if it was butchered or released.

Catch-and-release preferred

NParks said it educates the fishing community with other agencies and takes a balanced approach on recreational fishing.

For example, an information board put up at Bedok Jetty was developed with Marine Stewards Singapore, a sustainable fishing group.

The board showcases the common fish species caught there and shows the white-spotted eagle ray in the "catch-and-release" list, Tun said.

Avoid using nets

The preferred method of fishing is also emphasised.

Those who fish are also discouraged from using fish traps and nets that "will continue to trap and kill fish and other marine life" when lost at sea, Tun added.

Fish traps and nets also tend to be more indiscriminate, as they can entangle and smother to death corals or other bottom-dwelling organisms on the seabed.

"For this reason, net fishing and the use of wire mesh traps are not allowed in areas managed by NParks," Tun said.

"No Fishing" areas exist

Certain "No Fishing" areas in Singapore have been designated for fish to flourish and grow to maturity to protect the marine life.

More than 100 species of fish can be found in Singapore's waters.

These include areas such as the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve’s rocky shore, Chek Jawa Wetlands, and the waters around Coney Island Park.

Singapore has several designated fishing sites.

They include Changi Beach Park and Changi Boardwalk, East Coast Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, Pasir Ris Park, Pulau Ubin, Sembawang Park, West Coast Park and Woodlands Waterfront Park.

Offenders can be fined up to S$5,000 for fishing in ‘No Fishing’ areas in NParks-managed parks, and up to S$50,000 for fishing in nature reserves.