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Impact 0590: For the love of fish: being a good steward of our marine life

Ryan Chin · 16 May 2022
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Heya! I’m Ryan, an 18-year-old student, angler and ocean-lover! I am the programme lead at the non-profit organization Marine Stewards, where I founded the initiative FishX. Having been introduced to fishing by my grandmother when I was 5 and having caught over 150 species of fish, I started FishX to share more with others the incredible resource that is our marine biodiversity, while encouraging responsible enjoyment of it.

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At its heart, FishX is a youth-run programme, involving schoolmates, friends, and avid anglers across the local community as guides. It truly is a collaboration of various young people toward a common cause – our equipment is sponsored by SGFishingRigz, a tackle shop run by students around my age! We organise workshops for the public to come and see the marine life along our shores for themselves through catch-and-release fishing. 

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FishX was started with the belief that we cannot love what we do not know. It is our hope that for our guests, through appreciation comes conservation. Through our workshops, we teach our guests fish identification skills, safe fish handling techniques and the Catch, Photo, Release (CPR) framework. We also provide resources like maps of legal fishing spots and flashcards to show the appropriate harvesting size for various species. This helps us protect both fisherman and the fish, providing an informed entry into the community that may have been less accessible in the past.

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We believe that stewardship is not just minimising our footprint when we fish, but actively giving back to the sea – for us, through citizen science. Each fish we catch is documented for NParks database BIOME, and specimens of research interest are donated to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum subject to our guests’ consent. This helps contribute data on what is swimming in our waters, and how many. Over time, we hope that FishX will accrue valuable information on our ecosystems’ health to inform conservation policy.

Looking forward, FishX is looking to work with schools and youth organizations to offer another layer to the holistic education our nation is driving toward. It is our aspiration to provide memorable experiences for the up and coming generation of Singapore, encouraging us to find ways to use our talents and circumstances to enjoy the marine life in our oceans, but doing so responsibly. That is stewardship. We have expeditions fortnightly and more during school holidays this June, check us out on the web to get involved! Tight lines 😊

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