SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) has confirmed that 14 blacktip reef sharks, native to waters, lost their lives after becoming entangled in a fishing net stretching approximately 300 meters near Pulau Semakau.
Blacktip reef sharks, an integral part of Singapore’s marine biodiversity, are among the many native fish species found in Singapore’s waters.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed the timid and skittish blacktip reef shark as Vulnerable and overfishing of this slow-reproducing shark has led to its decline at a number of native locales.
NParks said that it received an alert that several blacktip reef sharks had perished near Pulau Semakau, which sits south of the main Singapore island.
The authorities are appealing to individuals to fish responsibly and adopt sustainable, non-destructive fishing methods. While fish cages and fishing nets are common tools used in fishing, they can have adverse effects and pose a significant risk to other marine life, especially when lost at sea.
An NParks spokesperson said, “That’s why the use of fishing nets and fish cages is strictly prohibited in areas managed by NParks.”
In addition, NParks is also encouraging the public to practice “catch and release” fishing, particularly when it comes to juvenile and threatened species. This approach involves catching fish and promptly releasing them back into the sea, promoting the preservation of marine populations.
The incident serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance that exists in our marine ecosystems and the importance of responsible fishing practices. The loss of these blacktip reef sharks is not only a tragedy for the species but also highlights the potential consequences of unsustainable fishing methods.
Efforts to protect Singapore’s marine biodiversity require collective action from both authorities and individuals and NParks continues to collaborate with various stakeholders to promote awareness and conservation initiatives. Through education and outreach programs, the authority aim to foster a sense of stewardship among the public, encouraging everyone to play a role in preserving precious marine resources.
The call to fish responsibly resonated with many netizens, who expressed their concern and sadness over the loss of the blacktip reef sharks. Online discussions highlighted the need for stricter regulations, increased enforcement, and greater public awareness to prevent similar incidents in the future.