Now wild fish found dead in northern Penang Island

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So it is not just farmed fish grown in the sea off the coast of northern Penang Island that have died. Wild fish too have perished along the Teluk Bahang shore.

What have we learned so far:

Prof Aileen Tan of Cemacs says:

  • the damage to the coastal ecology was “unimaginable”
  • heavy metals were detected but the level was not high enough to kill fish in the May incident
  • there was a shift of phytoplankton diversity; high concentration
  • the dissolved oxygen at the affected area is extremely low (below 4mg/L, even below 2mg at some places)
  • there are signs of eutrophication (excessive nutrients) in the very shallow bay – may cause the depletion of dissolved oxygen – excessive nutrients in the water (phosphate and ammonia)
  • nutrient levels still high
  • strong current and waves from Typhoon Lekima might have stirred some toxins from the seabed
  • the high mortality is so drastic; it happened during neap tide where the water movement is minimal
  • the combined factors of toxin and low dissolved oxygen may have caused a stressed environment for fish
  • the earlier incident happened gradually with groupers – followed by other fish like snappers a couple of weeks later
  • she cannot not rule out the water quality in Teluk Bahang, which has degraded over the years, as the reason the fish were dying
  • the sea stank of hydrogen sulphide and ammonia
  • latest: high concentration of ammonia and nitrate up to 7km from the coast; ammonia level in the seawater was 0.07mg/L but at 7km away, it rose to 0.9mg/L
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I was told: “Hydrogen sulphide and ammonia are gases released from decomposition of organic matter under anaerobic (oxygen-starved) conditions, probably at the sea floor, and get churned up with disturbance….”

So the big question is, what exactly is the stuff on the sea bed (that was dumped there?) that got churned up whether by the currents or by dredging or whatever?

Meanwhile,

  • fisherman from Bagan Ajam on the mainland spotted thick sedimentation plume behind a maintenence dredger leaving the harbour
  • they are supposed to dump the dredged material 13km from the North Channel or 11km from Mukah Head
  • maintenance dredging of North Butterworth Container Terminal is done every year
  • but why the need for dredging so often to keep the depth at 11-12 metres?
  • what is causing the shallowing of the port waters? is there a study to find out the reason?
  • who is ultimately footing the bill for this “maintenance dredging”?

Slightly further north at the Tanjung Tokong/Gurney Drive reclamation site, where 890 acres is being reclaimed:

  • E & O says it has dumped dredged material in the waters off Mukah Head (the approved dumpsite) until 20 January 2018
  • after that, the dredged material was used at the E&O Gurney reclamation site
  • Has there been any study of the impact of the first phase of the Sri Tanjung Pinang reclamation?

Directly across the channel from Gurney Drive, a fisherman at Bagan Ajam in mainland Penang told me their fish catch has plummeted by up to 90% in recent years.

What will this do to the price of fish in the local markets?

READ MORE:  Fishermen demand end to new land reclamation in Penang

With our waters already so polluted, silted and with low dissolved oxygen, with fish dying by the thousands in northern Penang Island, do we really want to finish off another precious source of fish off the southern coast of Penang Island by reclaiming 4,500 acres to build three unnecessary artificial islands – along with an additional 1,600 acres of reclamation on mainland Penang.

Bear in mind that the population of Penang is barely rising; so why the need for such massive reclamation when there is still land around Batu Kawan?

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Aleclim
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Aleclim

The damages from the 3 proposed islands south of Penang will be permanent! Pls think b4 proceeding with the destructive projects!!!

tunglang
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tunglang

A case of myopic materialistic development that’s gone wrong: Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing urges love in response to growing protests Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2019/08/16/hong-kong-tycoon-li-ka-shing-urges-love-not-violence-in-first-protest-comments#OU7UmDETRqmSFkPG.99 With due respect to Li ka-shing, he should by now know what it takes to wholesomely nurture a society to its best, not to its most expensive place on planet Earth to live , to work, to call home or cage. He should by now know businesses can be crippled by people’s power, not always the other way around. Painful is the Achilles heel, Mr Li! The escalating pro-democracy protests in HK are not solely… Read more »

Pipit
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Pipit

Lee Ka Shing speculated and made tons of money in Hong Kong property market causing price hike beyond the purchasing power of young Hong Kong folks so disillusioned that they are now flying Union Jack and Ubcle Sam flags.

tunglang
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tunglang

Money is so loved in HK that these super-rich are highly worshipped & given great leeways to monopolise + manipulate the economy esp. property market under a one country, 2 system rule. So much so the wayward super rich from Da-Lu (mainland China) find safe haven in HK to continue siphoning their ill gotten gains from corruption. A safe haven where the PRC rule of law cannot touch them – thus the need for extradition law to reach such rogues. It was rumoured that these rogues financed the mostly young protesters to violently oppose the proposed extradition law. So you… Read more »

Lim Goh Poh
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Lim Goh Poh

Ikan Bakar now may offer good prices now that there are abundance of perished fish to be disposed of. Go enjoy and see you all at Bricksfield 24 June.

tunglang
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tunglang

Q: If those fishes bred in enclosures at shallow depth died due to lack of oxygen, how come those wild free ranging fishes living in the open sea also died. Don’t tell us these wild fishes only lived in shallow waters? Don’t you think the open sea in Teluk Bahang is now a dead fish zone irrespective of shallow or deep waters?

DOE, Perhilitan, Yeo Bee Yin (Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change). What are you all going to do? Go swimming?

Wei
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Wei

LOL, can’t help laughing at the irony…kpkb king want the fish to be alive so they can eventually be caught and ended up in your stomach, and worse you want more to be caught so you can have more cheapo seafood…no wonder the fish go and kill themselves first rather than go through the agony

stop indulgence in seafood only then talk lar….

tunglang
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tunglang

Talking nonsense again! Pls try harder for the rest fo your he-he-he!
Life is too short for all day nonsense & spinning like a KneeJerk!

tunglang
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tunglang

Wake up CM Chow Chow!
Sea reclamation is fishy business bringing along destructive elements to our environment & marine life. This Hungry Ghost month, people are praying for merits for those who have passed away. Hope you won’t have to bear the Karma effects of not listening to the people esp. the fishermen.
Hope you wake up with a full conscience & awareness of “life is short, do more good”.

Wei
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Wei

exactly do more good by implementing project that provide jobs, opportunity ,improve living standard and bring prosperity and economic well being to the community and people…and PSR and PTMP are those project…

Pipit
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Pipit

Today we see dead fish.
Maybe in future it will be dead people due to radioactive contamination (on underground water) from radioactive waste?