28 Jun 2014

Seagrass bed threatened

...Following up from my recent post, Rocky Shore tour, which I highly recommend.
Recently, studying some books on marine biology with my children, we discovered that the ocean produces 50% of the world's oxygen. We also learnt that "Seagrass is crucial to slowing climate change because of its remarkable capacity to absorb greenhouse gases, with some experts saying  it is as important as forests in the fight against global warming." (The Conversation.)  Seagrass, it turns out, is 35 times more efficient at locking up, or “sequestering” carbon than rainforests. (Climate Solutions.)

The above, are reasons why it is so important to protect the ocean's seagrass.

Yet ..sadly, smack between Singapore and Malaysia (though Johor has so much land)  they've  chosen to start a land reclamation project right on the precious seagrass bed. (Country Garden Plan), (Football stadium on man made island.)

Comparing our previous trip to the one we recently had, there was a difference in the marine life we saw. There were less marine creatures near where the sand piling is going on, and even dead ones. Only when we stepped much further away from the construction work, that we began to see more life.The area of construction is widening, and last I read, they plan to make it larger than Sentosa island.

Still, I'd encourage volunteers to go, to support conservation, and to help SOS look for surviving seahorses so that these can be relocated to a seagrass bed further away from the construction site. Plus, taking a boat to a seagrass bed is really a really exciting adventure, a one of a kind experience.

I believe in supporting conservation, simply because conservationists are fighting hard to protect the environment we live in. If we can't be out there fighting to protect the very earth we live on, at least we can support them in whatever little way we can.

Save Our Seahorses has now set up their latest schedule for volunteer trips. You can find their schedule here --> SOS Volunteer registration.

Briefing at 6am by Adam Lim, Project Leader of SOS.

Just before heading out to sea, the first glimpse of the sun barely peeking out yet.

Lotsa people fishing down under the bridge that links Singapore and Malaysia.

Land piling right ON the seagrass bed. This was at shallow tide. 
Imagine all the starfish, seahorses, anemones and 
other marine life, buried beneath, damned to death.

Sand dumping truck, and a whole lot of other trucks on the other side of the pile. 

The children found life such as this Noble Volute and other marine creatures such as starfish. These we picked and placed them as far away as possible from the land project, hoping these will somehow survive the pollution and all.

Several varieties of anemones can be found on the bed of seagrass.

Sea hare eggs

Peacock anemone

Scouring the bed for surviving seahorses

After finding the surviving seahorse, we hopped back on the boat and followed SOS to a seagrass bed some distance away, where all rescued seahorses have been relocated to.
Adam and another team member scouring new seabed location to count for seahorses that have survived relocation.

Tagging and measuring of seahorse before relocating the seahorse. First ever seahorse relocation project. Hope they succeed, and the seahorses survive in their new environment. Really wishing SOS all the very best.

Pipefish, similar family to the seahorses.
UPDATE: Just read, project temporary halted. Hoping and praying for the best of the seahorses.  Link- Reclamation works stopped

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2014
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