Marine heritage on St John's Island needs protection

Marine heritage on St John's Island needs protection

SINGAPORE - I made a visit to St John's Island recently. After an interview with a local fisherman, I discovered that the fishing stocks there are dwindling.

The inter-tidal pools next to the jetty are filled with weed at this time of the year. The waters are murky due to sedimentation and fishing catches are small and unsustainable throughout the year.

This fisherman told me that waters were pristine and large sharks and lobsters were abundant previously.

Anthropogenic activities and a busy shipping industry have also caused the decline of the ecosystem. As a result, species may be endangered or extinct.

Development has taken a toll on the marine ecosystem. In Singapore, there are environmental protection laws on the control of silty water discharge into the sea; control on air and noise pollution; and protection from felling for heritage trees in Singapore.

However, we do not have laws on the protection of minimum fish-catch sizes, and actions to gazette St John's Island as a marine reserve.

These actions will ensure that valuable marine heritage is preserved in order for generations to enjoy.

Reggie Koh (Dr), Reader

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