Commentary: Is it time to crack down on damaging fishing practices in Singapore?

That is doubtless what occurred to the juvenile sharks at Pulau Hantu – fisherman might have tried to free the entangled people from the gill web, however the sharks have been harm within the course of and finally died.

The impression of ALDFG has been well-documented elsewhere, however solely just lately has the extent of the issue been quantified in Singapore. From 2000 to 2019, practically 25,000 situations of ALDFG have been recorded in Singapore, with fishing traces and nets comprising 37 per cent and 34 per cent of the dataset respectively.

Even after being misplaced, comparatively intact fishing gear continues to do what it does greatest – catch or entice marine creatures. This concern can be termed “ghost fishing”. The nets will proceed to entangle marine organisms till they disintegrate, however that may take months or years.

Furthermore, as a fishing gear disintegrates within the water, it releases microplastics. Apart from the damaging results of microplastics on marine and freshwater organisms, resembling delaying progress and shortening life spans, there may very well be well being implications for individuals who eat them in flip.

Whereas it’s not potential to pinpoint the supply of ALDFG, nearly all of traces and a few nets present in Singapore have been most probably first utilized in our personal shorelines and waters.


As fishing continues to rise in reputation, the usage of extra damaging fishing gears must be closely monitored and even restricted.

As issues stand now, there may be restricted authorized safety for susceptible species and juvenile fishes. Though NParks recommends working towards catch-and-release, it’s troublesome to implement this apply amongst leisure fishers.

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