Singapore: Fishing for improvements

Straits Times 16 Jul 11;

I read with great interest the article, Fishermen Angle For More Space (LifeStyle, July 10).

As an avid angler for more than 35 years, I see a need to revamp the fishing scene in Singapore.

There are fewer places here to fish legally now, considering the rapid urban development over the years.

I propose the following:

Licensing: Impose a small fee for anglers to fish freely in our reservoirs, canals or waterways.

They will have to sign an agreement to abide by rules and regulations. These rules can include a catch-and-release policy, or take- home limits according to fish size.

Besides helping to curtail irresponsible fishing practices and pollution, funds generated from licensing can be used to develop better facilities around the fishing grounds, manage the aquatic life, and campaign for fishing as a healthy lifestyle activity.

More fishing grounds: Extend legal fishing to entire reservoirs and allow responsible fishing at more reservoirs, waterways and canals.

The authorities need to re-evaluate whether certain 'No Fishing' areas really make sense.

Work with local interest groups, such as the Sport Fishing Association of Singapore, to examine how safety concerns can be addressed.

I hope the authorities such as the Public Utilities Board and NParks can seriously look into my suggestions.

Sim Kian Peng

Opening reservoirs for public leisure safely
Straits Times Forum 22 Jul 11;

PUB, the national water agency, thanks Mr Sim Kian Peng for his letter last Saturday ('Fishing for improvements').

PUB has been opening up reservoirs for more recreational activities like boating and fishing. Fishing is allowed within designated areas at the eight reservoirs - MacRitchie, Lower Peirce, Kranji, Bedok, Pandan, Upper and Lower Seletar reservoirs and Jurong Lake.

We hope to promote recreational fishing, a growing interest, as an attractive and leisurely activity. We would like to ensure the safety of anglers, the coexistence of fishing with other water-related activities at the reservoirs, maintaining good water quality and the stability of a reservoir's ecosystem.

Our efforts will focus on:

Allowing fishing on significantly bigger areas along reservoirs and waterways, with the exception of designated 'non-fishing' zones. It is unsafe for the public to enter the canals as canals are subject to sudden rapid flows and rising water levels during heavy and intense rain.

Organising workshops with anglers' interest groups to educate the public on fishing in a sustainable way.

Measures to prevent over-fishing, promote 'clean up after fishing', 'catch and release' and 'take home limit' habits, and work on habitat rehabilitation at our reservoirs and waterways.

Tan Nguan Sen
Director, Catchment and Waterways
PUB, the national water agency