Dead fish in Pasir Ris: Not water contamination, says NEA

Straits Times 22 Mar 12;

THE mystery of how thousands of dead fish were washed ashore on Pasir Ris beach and along Sungei Api Api has not been solved, but at least it has nothing to do with the water.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has ruled out water contamination as the cause of their deaths. It said yesterday that it analysed water samples from the area and did not detect any irregularities. There was also no discharge of toxic chemicals or pollutants into Sungei Api Api on Tuesday.

Pasir Ris beach remains open to the public and the NEA said people can use it for recreational activities.

The agency will continue to take water samples and monitor the water quality in the area.

Residents were shocked to see a mass of dead fish along Sungei Api Api on Tuesday. The fish appeared to have been washed in with the tide, said the national water agency, PUB.

Contractors engaged by the NEA had removed nearly all the dead fish by last night and no more were found after that.

The dead fish were of two species, both belonging to the sardine family. The fish are found in Singapore's coastal waters but are not bred in the fish farms off Pasir Ris. Fish farmers there have not reported any fish dying in their farms.

Algae blooms which kill fish have also not been reported in the area recently.

Fish farmers The Straits Times spoke to did not know what could have caused the sardines' deaths, although one suggested the fish could have been trapped in an area with poor oxygen levels during the changing of the tides.

Singapore has also had other instances of mass fish deaths. In December 2009, a plankton bloom killed 400,000 fish in farms off Pasir Ris and Pulau Ubin.