KUANTAN – Contrary to what many believe, the phenomenon of thousands of cockles washed up at Pantai Mempisang in Tanjung Gemuk, Rompin and Pantai Sura, Dungun in Terengganu this week is not an indication of a tsunami.
According to the dean of the School of Fisheries and Aquaculture at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Prof Dr Mazlan Abd Ghaffar, the phenomenon is closely linked to big waves and coastal erosion.
“In December last year, there were also reports of mussels on Pantai Mempisang and during that time, there were big waves and heavy rain.
“It is the same this year at the Sura and Mempisang beaches, it is related to strong monsoon winds and big waves, combined with coastal erosion.
“This has caused the hairy cockle species which live close to the beach which is partly muddy, to be washed up the beach by strong currents,” he told Bernama here Sunday.
He said the hairy cockles (scientific name Anadara Pilula) were commonly found in coastal areas and related to other cockle species like the Anadara Granosa, Anadara Indica and Anadara Inequiualuis.
“This is different from the signs of the tsunami in Penang in December 2004, because normally, (the signs) occur one hour before the sea water recedes drastically, causing many marine life to be washed ashore,” said Mazlan.
On the whale found at the Pantai Rambah Recreation Park beach near Pontian on Monday, he did not discount the possibility it could have been injured and separated from its herd.
“The whale could have been hit by a boat or propeller, causing it to be injured and its navigation system affected. This might caused it to go astray near Pontian.
“But it is amusing that certain parties connected this to emotional disturbance as one of the reasons for the whale’s death…the autopsy showed it died because its lungs were filled with mud.” – BERNAMA