How did we come up with the Recommended Guidelines for fishing in Singapore? That’s one question that many of you have asked us!
Above: Mr Bhai and Myka demonstrating measuring of fish lengths, Fishing For the Future event, January 2020
In March 2019, we wondered why there wasn’t any fisheries management in Singapore. We met with marine biology researchers in Singapore and asked, "Will fisheries management help the health of our marine ecosystem?" The answer was - yes!
Fisheries management has been proven to improve overall marine ecology and marine health, which in turn benefits the users of marine resources including fishermen.
First community meeting
With that, we organised a community session in April 2019 with fishing charter captains, tackle shop and tackle brand owners, surfcast team leaders and passionate anglers. We discussed how we could regulate ourselves as a community, that would benefit all of us in the longer term.
Above: First community meeting at Singapore Sustainability Academy, April 2019
A range of fisheries management techniques were considered, such as open and closed seasons, minimum and maximum fish sizes, bag limits, no-take and all-take species etc
Most of you were supportive of having some guidelines for sustainable fishing in Singapore! About a dozen people stepped forward to become Founding Members of Marine Stewards Singapore
We formed an Advisory Panel comprising researchers from NUS, James Cook University and Republic Poly to advise us from a scientific and research perspective
We decided that the guidelines have to be simple enough, and not too strict, so that anglers can still take home some fish while being responsible to the marine environment.
Above: First community meeting, April 2019
We collated about 50 fishes that are commonly caught in Singapore. Our researchers who had kindly volunteered for the cause, Dr Zeehan Jaafar of NUS and Dr Neil Hutchinson of James Cook University, researched these fishes and obtained data about their maturity lengths from scientific research papers.
With that information, we did a Round 2 of community sharing and discussions.
Second community meeting
Above: Second community meeting, August 2019
For this meeting, we invited more representatives from the surfcast community to join in. We discussed what is most practical and feasible guidelines for Singapore? Bag limits? Lengths for just 1 or 5 most commonly caught fish? One standardised length for all fish?
Finally, after taking into account all the feedback, and several more meetings and weeks of discussions later, we came up with these three simple guidelines:
Recommended Guidelines for Fishing in Singapore
You can check the maturity lengths and guidelines here.
You can also purchase a water-proof hardcopy here!
Before we go on, it's so important for us to thank everyone who joined in these meetings, who helped us put together the guidelines and information. Many of you shared very constructive thoughts, suggestions and even fish photos with us. All of this was only possible with your input!
Now that the guidelines are out, we have to practise them! With more of us practising catch and release, it will influence and spread to the wider community!
Above: Interactive game to measure fish lengths, Marine Stewards Singapore, Fishing For the Future event, January 2020
These guidelines are a living document. We are continually receiving feedback from all of you. We will assess and see if adjustments need to be made, so that over time, our culture of sustainable and responsible fishing becomes an ingrained part of our fishing community!
Get more involved
If you'd like to get more involved, there are three ways for you to do so.
1. Join us as a Marine Steward
Sign up for a 1 or 2 year membership. We are forming an exclusive whatsapp chat group only for paid members. This is where we make things happen together! You don't need to be a fisherman to join, we welcome anyone from the blue or sea community - whether you are a diver, a marine biologist or an ocean lover, we are all relevant to marine conservation
Email us with an introduction and your area of interest to volunteer
Buy something from our shop! We are registered in Singapore as a non-profit under ACRA. 100% of proceeds go towards the cause.
If you have topics to share, you can also post them in our Facebook group here!
Marine Stewards is a registered non-profit whose mission is to promote a healthy fishing culture through sustainable fishing guidelines, education and outreach.
Volunteer: We welcome all volunteers, email firstname.lastname@example.org