Disallow Long Net Fishing in Singapore Rivers, Canals

(This letter was published in Today newspaper's website in Singapore)

2 April 2010

Dear Editor,

Of late hobby fishing has taken off along the Kallang canal. The methods include rod and line, small and long nets. The long nets can stretch across the width of the canal, up to 40m.

The long nets are getting more popular as they haul in larger quantities of fish at a quicker time. However, these nets are a hazard to the cleaner boats (see photos taken near Block 14 Upper Boon Keng Road this morning) as it jams the propeller. As rubbish of all sizes flow down the river, they are trapped by these nets making them hard and risky to pull out by the cleaners. The nets also trap other marine animals such as turtles and iguana, plus other fish species including juveniles. Fishing has contributed to greater pollution; more styrofoam, plastic bags and bottles are strewn into the river once the hobby has been served. Birds, including migratory ones, depend on the fishes for food. With pollution all round, the marine ecosystems and wildlife are being threatened.

The authorities should step in to curb this problem, and ban long net fishing altogether. I had written to the NEA three years ago complaining about the lack of rubbish bins along the canal, and repeated the problem to officers in person appealing for more bins (including recycle bins), but I have yet to see any improvement. Monitoring against littering is also needed. Perhaps our Permanent Resident Voluntary Constables can offer their valuable services to this matter.

Thank you.

Best regards

Mallika Naguran

Managing Editor, Gaia Discovery