I’m Xue Shen, year 1 BES student and this blog will be about sustainable fishing in Singapore. Why choose this topic? Well, that’s because I’ve been fishing Singapore’s shores for years. Now, I know this might spark quite a few questions so I’ve prepared a short Q&A below comprising questions I have been asked before.
Q1: Why fish?
A1: Personally, I do it for food. I believe this presents a slightly better alternative than commercial fishing. Some do it for similar reasons, some do it purely for enjoyment and some do it as an escape from their lives. Our community is vast and different anglers will fish for different reasons.
Q2: Do you eat everything you catch?
A2: Nope. There are ways in which I restrict what I keep. Size limits are one thing. Species limits are another. These are limits I set for myself as a guide to how sustainable I can make my own activities. Again, our community is diverse and unfortunately, there are plenty who do not believe in such actions.
Q3: How can you fish but advocate marine conservation at the same time? Is that not hypocrisy?
A3: This is tough. I’m definitely not the most environmentally friendly person out there. Nor do I deny the impacts on our oceans which the angling community is responsible for. But believe me when I say that I love the oceans as much as any straight-laced conservationist out there. Being an angler for 14 years has made me well aware of what is going on and what needs to be done. I’ve met anglers whose actions are cruel and downright unreasonable, but also anglers who want to see our marine biodiversity thrive as much as I do. If anything, straddling both worlds helps me to understand the needs of both parties and, believe it or not, I’ve been struggling to work out a compromise between them. Trust me, it isn’t easy managing the ire of both the fishing community and the conservationists.
Q4: Do you support catch and release?
A4: Yes, in terms of releasing undersized or inedible fish. In terms of sport-fishing or pay pond fishing, well, you can safely say I’m not a fan of that.
Q5: Do you enjoy hurting fish for fun?
Q6: What is it like fishing in Singapore?
A6: Bad. Don’t take my word for this. Ask any old fellow out there, someone who has fished over the past twenty years. We are experiencing a very obvious decline in our marine biodiversity and we are a large part of the problem. Over-harvesting is one factor. Fishing waste is another. However, we’re not beyond hope. I still believe that sustainable practices can bring us back to the past where fish stocks are way more abundant than they are now.
So there you have it. I hope this blog serves as yet another platform where people can learn more about sustainable fishing. Thanks in advance for reading!