Mass Marine Mortality at Pasir Ris

For the past few years around this time of the year there have been occurrences of mass fish deaths on our northern shores. This year is no exception. Ria was here earlier as well, and has done a comprehensive blogpost about the situation. I’m just posting photos of cool dead things. I know I don’t sound sad but I am, kay 😦

So CNY is over, and the food guilt finally set in so I decided to try and run to work some of the sin off. As soon as I hit the path however, my nose was immediately assaulted by a foul stench. I had seen some of my friends posting about fish deaths on facebook, so I decided to go see for myself what the situation was like (totally not an excuse).

The first stop was a breakwater, and LO AND BEHOLD, I was greeted with a friggin mass grave.

This is

This is NOT what we asked for when we shouted “年年有鱼 (year year got fish)” during all those lou heis.

Because of how the water flows, a large number of fish carcasses were gathered at the breakwater, and it was quite a sight (and quite a smell too). Elsewhere on the shore, individual bodies were strewn along the strandline along the entire length of the beach, as far as I could tell.

So like, screw running right? THIS is important. Walked along the shore instead and took some photos, so here they are. As sad as it was to see all this, I can’t say it wasn’t interesting seeing a new fish every few metres.

There were many other fishes like rabbitfish and whatnot that aren’t shown here, but show up in significant numbers.

So what’s with all the dying? Clearly something fishy is going on?

For now we know that dissolved oxygen levels are high, so it can’t be due to low oxygen. Seems the deaths are a result of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).

Again, for better clarification of the situation, I’d like to direct you to Ria’s blog (Wild Shores of Singapore), where she does a great job of explaining what’s going on.

Given how this happens every year, hopefully something will be done soon to address this :/

Sankar and I went down this morning to check out the site again. The mass grave was cleared, and there were cleaners on site to clear up the carcasses, but there were also new bodies. Notably, there were numerous HUGE pufferfish on the western side of Pasir Ris beach. Seriously, check it out.


Went down again with Sankar and Ingsind (and Nam and Sara) at night to take a look, and the high tide brought in a fresh batch of bodies. At least 7 puffers along the 100m stretch we walked. They also found a large reef stonefish, which I have not seen in the flesh before. Yikes.

Check out the whole album here:

3 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for writing this blog post! And well done you and your friends for getting down in time to document and ID all the fishes – it’s really eye-opening. Sad circumstances, but does make us realise what rich biodiversity we have, and spur us on to take care of it better. Hopefully there’s some way of preventing another episode of this toxic plankton blooming, though it seems to have been mainly caused by this weather season.


  2. Posted by Heather Chen on March 2, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Hi Sean – I’m a BBC producer in Singapore hoping to get in touch with you about these photos. Can you drop me an email at or call me at 90083713 Thank you


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