Otter hurt by fishing hook at Marina Bay

The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16).
The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16). PHOTO: ST READER
The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16).
The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16). PHOTO: ST READER
The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16).
The otter was seen with a fishing hook caught in its front right paw and was limping badly on Sunday (April 16). PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - Another otter has been injured by an errant fishing hook - this time in the Marina Bay area.

The otter, believed to be part of the famous "Bishan 13" family, was spotted limping badly as it had the hook caught in its right front paw.

A frequent otter watcher, who declined to be named, told The Straits Times he had been observing the otters at Marina Bay over the weekend.

"All was well when I saw the otter on Saturday night near the floating platform, but the hook was there when I next spotted it at around lunchtime on Sunday," he said.

"Why can't anglers be more responsible and not leave their hooks lying about?"

Photographs shared on the OtterWatch Facebook page showed the injured otter attempting to remove the hook.

"Fishing hooks can be extremely dangerous to otters. It may be on a paw this time round, but next time it might be in the eye and would likely be much more serious," the post said.

"Please be kind and lift up your rods when the otters are around, and be responsible by disposing your hooks after use."

The post added that Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) has been informed of the incident.

Mr Max Khoo, a member of OtterWatch and an otter researcher at the National University Singapore, said hooks can cause direct harm to otters and other animals when latched onto them. 

"This may worsen should there be an infection in the wound. Hooks are also extremely detrimental should otters or animals swallow it, and this may even lead to death," he added. 

 

There have been several reports of otters being caught by fishing hooks in recent times.

In April last year, a wild otter pup was seen with a hook lodged near its eye near Kallang Wave Mall. It recovered without any external help.

More recently, a female otter from the Bishan family was spotted with a fishing line and hook in its body at Marina Bay on Jan 2, just two days after a sighting of a new litter of otter pups.

After that incident, water agency PUB said it would be stepping up surveillance patrols in the area to take action against illegal fishing.

It also urged anglers "not to put themselves and other people or animals at risk by fishing at no-fishing areas".

PUB told ST on Monday that Marina Reservoir is one of the 10 reservoirs with designated fishing areas.

"As reservoirs are common spaces shared by other water sport users and general public, anglers should take responsibility by fishing at the designated fishing areas and practising good fishing habits," said a PUB spokesman. "This includes discarding lines, hooks and bait into bins."

More do’s and don’ts can be found here, she said.
 
She added that PUB officers carry out daily surveillance at the reservoirs and take enforcement action against illegal fishing such as fishing at no-fishing areas and/or using live bait.  

Those caught fishing at no-fishing areas or using live bait can be fined up to $3,000.
 
PUB said the public can call its hotline at 1800-2255-782 (1800-CALL-PUB) if they spot any illegal or unsafe fishing activities.

"When reporting, it would be helpful to furnish the date, time and location of the incident, along with any photos and/or videos," said the PUB spokesman.

The Straits Times has contacted Acres for comment.