Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Patient fisherment

I paid a visit to Labrador Park last night. The jetty was a little more crowded than other nights, with anglers and squid fishermen.

I asked one of the men catching squids how many he'd caught so far and he said about 7. 7 big ones.

Small fish gathered on the surface. It's wonderful to observe life in our waters. No matter how seemingly insignificant. It still means our ocean is not dead.

Soon enough, a squid was spotted getting near to the bait, and in a patient moment, a small squid was fished out of the water. "Oh this is a small one," he said. He unhooked it and just when i thought he was abt to return it to the sea bcos it wasn't a good catch, he asked the other fishermen ard that night if they wanted live bait. One hollered and the squid was his.

Small ones are made into baits, big ones are kept and consumed. Nothing is given a chance. I just wondered how sustainable that is. Though I don't fish, and have nothing against people who do, I do think it is only decent for those who seek the seas as a form of recreation to return it some respect. The fishermen threw their cigarette butts and bit of litter, broken lines and hooks into the sea. Shouldn't they be more concerned than anyone else, about the life in the ocean? They reap entertainment from it.

Just down the jetty on the break water, was a baby moray eel, about 2 and a half feet in length. It's corpse lay beaten with flies. This is my first sighting of an eel in Singapore waters, though dead. In its mouth was a fish hook and a broken line. If someone had fished it out, he was obviously more concerned abt the safety of his fingers and chose to leave the hook in the animals' mouth, possibly bcos of its formidable teeth. Otherwise, it would've been caught by a ghost line - irresponsibly disposed fishing lines on a death chant in the sea. Both ways, the significant death could have been prevented, with just a few more minutes of patience and just a split second of consideration.