Fish farmers source donations online to tide them over during plankton bloom

Workers showing the dead pompano and red snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Workers showing the dead pompano and red snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Workers showing the dead pompano and red snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Workers showing the dead pompano and red snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead snappers at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Workers looking at dead fishes at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Workers looking at dead fishes at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead fish (wild ones, not from kelong) washed ashore along Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead fish (wild ones, not from kelong) washed ashore along Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead fish (wild ones, not from kelong) washed ashore along Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dead fish (wild ones, not from kelong) washed ashore along Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
A large number of dead fish and other sea creatures seen on Pasir Ris beach last month. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF SEAN YAP
Workers showing the dead sea bass at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28, 2015. Offshore farmers from a fishing farm here have put up an appeal for donations online -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Workers showing the dead sea bass at a kelong off Pasir Ris beach on Feb 28, 2015. Offshore farmers from a fishing farm here have put up an appeal for donations online -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 

SINGAPORE - Offshore farmers from a fishing farm here have put up an appeal for donations online after an environmental crisis that has caused them huge losses.

Ah Hua Kelong, which is located off Lorong Halus on the north-east coast, attributed the loss in 80 per cent of their fish to a plankton bloom. The phenomenon happens when the micro-organisms found in seawater multiply quickly in a very short time, draining the seawater of oxygen. Majority of the farm's fishes have died as a result.

The farmers wrote on crowdfunding site Indiegogo: "We are on the verge of losing the workers, the farm and everything we have and it is not just because of broken supply but because of the news and speculations."

They added that 20 per cent of their fish are healthy and safe to sell and eat because they were transferred out of "troubled waters". Ah Hua Kelong specialises in farming Grouper, Seabass and Golden pomfret, according to its website.

The Straits Times reported on Sunday that thousands of fish died in coastal farms off Changi. Dead fish were also seen along the Pasir Ris shoreline. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) attributed the deaths to gill damage caused by plankton. AVA was quoted as saying that lab tests conducted so far did not detect biological toxins in the fish, and fish from local farms remains safe to eat.

Ah Hua Kelong started the project on Feb 28, and has set a goal of US$20,000 (S$27,303). By Monday morning, it has raised US$3,563 (S$4,864). The fund-raising will continue till March 30.

"We are not asking for much. We hope to raise enough to only help us pay off expense for at least 3 months since now both demand and supply are in the ditch," the farmers wrote.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg