Andy found this dead and already rotting tongue sole in a drift net placed on the shore at Sentosa, close to the small strip of reclaimed land that houses the cable car tower, which was once Pulau Selegu. Close by it, another net (or part of the same equipment) was draped over a chunk of coral, smothering the colony and its inhabitants. The netting was duly cut and dismembered. Personally, I don't see much wrong with a little subsistence fishing, but the way some of these fishermen do it seems plain wasteful. Nets are left uncollected for days and the bulk of the catch, like this flatfish, is not fit for eating by the time the men return. Meanwhile, they trap and kill other fish, crabs and marine life that are inedible. Bubu-style cage traps at shores such as Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa frequently capture crabs, filefish, butterflyfish and scats, which die and rot long before the traps are collected.
At Semakau today, while the teamseagrassers were monitoring the transects, a tanned man walked over from the outlying reef, where a boat was moored. He complained that up to 300 metres of fishing lines that he laid over the seagrass beds in the past couple of weeks had been cut and that this was making him very angry. I told him to bring up the issue with the gahmen office (i.e. the National Environment Agency which oversees the Semakau landfill), which he will hopefully do, at some cost. The cutting, however, will continue as long as these by-catch intensive fishing practices persist.
Elsewhere, other people practise the 'bring 'em back alive' philosophy with impunity, poaching for profit (and the likely death of the animals before their sale and display in private aquariums) and robbing the world of future pleasures that could have brought priceless delight to countless beachcombers.