The National Parks Board (NParks) will be stepping up efforts to educate members of the public about marine life, as well as increase patrols at intertidal areas.
This comes after large number of visitors were spotted collecting marine creatures at the intertidal area in Changi Beach.
In a statement to Mothership, NParks expressed concern over the weekend crowd and their activity of collecting shellfish and other invertebrates.
The unusually large number of visitors was due to low day tides coinciding with the June holidays, the statement explained.
The Group Director of the National Biodiversity Centre at NParks, Ryan Lee, said that other than certain rare species, invertebrates are currently not protected under the Wildlife Act.
Invertebrates refer to cold-blooded animals without backbones, such as roaches, centipedes, and sea anemones etc.
However, the collection of invertebrates within nature reserves and parks such as Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve’s rocky shore, and Chek Jawa Wetlands is illegal under the Parks and Tree Act, Lee added.
Offenders could face up to S$5,000 fine in NParks-managed parks and up to S$50,000 in nature reserves, if found guilty.
The Parks and Trees Act, however, does not extend to the intertidal area in Changi Beach. The intertidal zone in Changi Beach is also not under NParks' purview.
That said, NParks is committed to educate members of the public to care for the sensitive marine life in intertidal areas, Lee said.
Some additional steps taken to protect sensitive marine life include putting up more signage and stepping up patrols by NParks staff and partners.
"We will raise awareness on the detrimental effects of touching, collecting or trampling on marine wildlife in their natural habitats," Lee said.
Lee also encourages members of the public to take part in the Intertidal Watch citizen science programme to help conserve marine habitats.
NParks also reminds members of the public to observe safe management measures when they visit gardens, parks and reserves.
If you are curious as to what Intertidal Watch is about, watch this video:
Top photo by Daphne Ting