SINGAPORE: A man was fined S$2,800 on Monday (Sep 13) for littering and fishing at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Court documents showed that Ab Wahab Ahamad had been fishing with a drift net at a river channel within the nature reserve on Dec 28, 2019.
The area is closed to the public and no fishing is permitted within the nature reserve.
The 59-year-old was seen recovering fish from the net for about half an hour and was also observed throwing his spent cigarette butt into the waters of the nature reserve instead of keeping it for disposal in a litter bin.
His actions were observed by a volunteer who later reported the matter to the National Parks Board (NParks).
According to court documents, Wahab had been fishing "for many years" along the coast at Kranji Reservoir Park, which is near the nature reserve.
He also worked at a floating fish farm about 150m away from the river channel.
As a worker at the closest fish farm, Wahab would have known that he should not enter into the river channel, said NParks prosecutor Packer Mohammad.
Wahab had also been previously advised by NParks to keep out of the nature reserve area, court documents showed.
In an advisory on Monday, NParks said designated "no fishing" areas such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve are managed as sanctuaries for fish to flourish and grow to maturity.
The agency added that there are designated fishing sites in NParks-managed parks and nature reserves for the fishing community.
These sites include those at Changi Beach Park and Changi Boardwalk, East Coast Park and Woodlands Waterfront Park.
NParks encouraged members of the public to carry out recreational fishing at designated fishing spots in a "responsible manner", using "sustainable" fishing methods.
"There is a wide variety of fishing gear and methods, ranging from hook, rod and line, fish traps and nets. Each has their own characteristics and varies in their impact on the environment," said NParks.
Fish traps and nets, when lost in the sea, will continue to trap and kill fish and other marine life, it added.
"Nets that settle onto the seabed could also entangle corals or other bottom-dwelling organisms, and can smother them to death. For this reason, net fishing and the use of wire mesh traps are not allowed in areas managed by NParks."
NParks also encouraged the practice of “catch-and-release” fishing, where fish that are not going to be eaten are released back into the sea.