MIPR readies shark’s fin ban legal framework
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is currently working on an “appropriate legal framework” to enforce the shark’s fin ban. The ban is enforced from the beginning of this year, said the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources.
In a telephone interview with The Brunei Times, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said the ministry is also setting up measures related to education and awareness and public engagement efforts regarding the ban.
“Many countries have put in place restrictions on sale and catch of sharks, which we hope will help us to win the public opinion,” he said, adding that the media can also help by publishing articles on the effects of shark killing and taking their fins off.
The Brunei Times contacted a few restaurants and was told that they had taken shark’s fin off their menu as of January 1, 2014. Some restaurants said they had stopped serving the banned food item since last year when the announcement was made.
A spokesperson from Cheng Wah Restaurant in Seria said it was no longer serving shark’s fin, and that customers do not ask for it anymore since news of the ban was published in a number of newspapers last year.
Other restaurants such as I-Lotus Restaurant, Phong Mun Restaurant and the Royal Brunei Catering group of restaurants including Dynasty Restaurant and Emperor’s Court have also stated they have stopped serving shark’s fin in their establishments.
In June last year, the government that it was giving food establishments a grace period of six months to clear their stock of shark’s fin and shark cartilage products before the ban goes into effect.
The minister last year said that effective January 2014 the ban will be legislated into Brunei’s law and routine checks on establishments would be conducted to ensure the ban is adhered to.
The ban was announced at the launch of “Celebrate the Sea Festival 2013” to mark World Oceans Day, and has made Brunei the first country in Asia to ban the product, according to non-governmental organisation WildAid.
During the 2013 event, the minister said the government was also officially enforcing the ban on the import and trade of shark products, include sales in the domestic market.
The minister added that shark catches, though incidental, have been on a significant decline over the years. In 1994, the catches amounted to an estimated 40 tonnes but fell to 16 tonnes in 2011.
The Brunei Times