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AVA probing fish deaths off Pasir Ris

SINGAPORE — Amid higher plankton levels, some fish farmers off Pasir Ris have seen their fish die in recent days and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is analysing samples to determine the cause of death.

AVA probing fish deaths off Pasir Ris

Dead groupers washed ashore at Pasir Ris. Photo: Ria Tan/Facebook

SINGAPORE — Amid higher plankton levels, some fish farmers off Pasir Ris have seen their fish die in recent days and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is analysing samples to determine the cause of death.

The AVA said some fish deaths were reported by farmers in the East Johor Straits between Wednesday and Saturday. This came after the authority alerted the coastal fish farmers to elevated plankton levels in the area last Monday and Tuesday for them to take precautions.

Plankton are microorganisms and plankton bloom occurs when one species of the drifting marine organisms predominates over others and multiplies quickly, said the AVA. This can be triggered by unpredictable weather, a higher concentration of nutrients in the seawater and poor water exchange between the high and low tides, a spokesperson said.

The AVA did not provide an indication of the scale of deaths so far, but said it has been visiting the coastal fish farms since the farmers’ reports. The visits are to “ascertain the situation, offer advice to the farmers to mitigate the situation and collect fish samples from the affected farms for analysis on the cause of mortality”.

It will continue to monitor and work closely with the farmers, an AVA spokesperson added.

Blogger and environmentalist Ria Tan reported seeing dead fish, both wild and farmed, at Pasir Ris on Saturday. In a post on her Wild Shores website yesterday, Ms Tan noted that some algal blooms are harmful and said it was important to find out the exact cause of fish deaths this time.

The latest deaths occurred a year after farmers lost more than 160 tonnes of fish and suffered individual losses of up to several hundred thousand dollars.

Last year’s episode was due to plankton bloom and low levels of dissolved oxygen, said the AVA, which offered an assistance package to affected farmers.

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