Waters around coastal fish farms closely monitored: AVA

Channel NewsAsia 16 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE: Fish farmers at Lim Chu Kang received an alert from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) last Friday (Oct 10), notifying them of impending low dissolved oxygen levels in the waters around the farms.

AVA said such alerts are part of a system aimed at ensuring close monitoring of waters around coastal fish farms. Responding to media queries on recent reports of mass fish deaths at farms in the Lim Chu Kang area, AVA said that it has installed continuous online water quality monitoring systems at some coastal fish farms.

The real-time data received will help AVA assess water quality conditions at the farming areas and also alert it to impending poor water conditions. The early alerts, in the form of phone calls and SMSes, are also sent out to fish farms so that farmers can take the necessary precautions to safeguard their fish stocks, said AVA. Farmers are also encouraged to notify AVA when they observe unusual fish or water conditions.

AVA said the low dissolved oxygen levels at Lim Chu Kang could have been caused by several factors, including the relatively dry warm weather and tidal conditions. It has also received reports about the fish mortality in some farms in Lim Chu Kang, and these farms have turned on their aeration systems to mitigate the low dissolved oxygen level situation.

The affected farms have also conducted an emergency harvest of the fish to reduce their losses. AVA said it has also deployed oxygen cylinders and aerators to supplement the farms' aeration systems.

AVA will continue to work closely with the farmers to help tackle challenges, address issues and boost farm capability and production. AVA also said that it conducts regular visits to the fish farms to monitor and advise farmers on good farm management practices.

These include on-site guidance on fish disease and parasite preventive measures, animal husbandry, fish nutrition, as well as fish culture protocols like optimal stocking densities to prevent overcrowding. These practices are expected to help to improve fish survival and in turn boost farm production, said AVA.

- CNA/xy