3 Turtles & 1 Stingray Caught In Nets Off Lazarus Island, Environmental Group Decries Nets As Hazards
Singapore’s waters are home to a wide variety of sea life, some of which are endangered.
Unfortunately, irresponsible human actions are posing a threat to these sea creatures, including fishing with nets.
On Saturday (18 Nov) alone, three endangered turtles and one stingray were found stuck in nets off Lazarus Island in two separate incidents.
Sadly, one of the turtles has since passed away.
2 green turtles caught in net off Lazarus Island on 18 Nov
Marine Stewards, an environmental conservation group, reported one of the incidents.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (18 Nov) night, they said two green turtles were found caught in a net that afternoon at Eagle Bay, off Lazarus Island.
Yacht crew help free turtles
They thanked the crew of Infinity Sails, a yacht charter company, who worked hard in the rain to free the turtles.
A video posted by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) showed two men using a knife to cut away the netting trapping two turtles lying motionless on the deck.
The turtles were then handed over to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).
However, Marine Stewards said that to their knowledge, one of the turtles had passed away.
Fishing with nets a hazard to sea life & humans: NGO
In previous posts on social media, Marine Stewards decried fishing with nets in Singapore waters, describing it as “destructive”.
Improper use of netting affects our marine environment negatively, they said.
The nets used are typically gill nets, which have floats at the top and weights below. That means they can catch everything in their path indiscriminately.
This results in sea life that were not meant to be caught also getting tangled up in them.
They also pose a safety hazard to humans as they can get caught in boat propellers and ensnare swimmers, kayakers and other water sports participants.
Marine Stewards told ST said those who find live animals trapped in the sea can try to free them safely and call the NParks or the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
1 turtle & 1 stingray also caught in net off Lazarus Island
The two unfortunate green turtles were not the only sea creatures to get into trouble on Saturday.
Earlier that day, a hawksbill turtle and blue-spotted ribbontail stingray were caught in a net off Lazarus Island, reported The Straits Times (ST).
Two men, Mr Andrew Kemp and Mr Scott Tucker, who previously didn’t know each other, spotted the creatures.
They worked together to free the turtle, which took them about 30 minutes — only for it to get caught in the net again later.
That meant they had to free it a second time, in the process finding and freeing a stingray that also got trapped.
The men then decided to pull the net to shore to prevent other animals from falling into its trap.
Both species of turtles are endangered
Both green turtles and hawksbill turtles are endangered.
Thus, it’s a relief that two of them survived the ordeal. However, the passing of one endangered turtle is certainly lamentable.
Let’s hope the authorities can find some way to stop indiscriminate fishing with nets in Singapore waters to prevent more precious sea life from being hurt.
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