Minister calls for more public awareness of marine conservation
THE Industry and Primary Resources minister has called on the Marine Biodiversity Centre to attract more visitors and improve public awareness on marine life.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said the centre at Meragang Beach needs to be more interactive as a learning centre.
Speaking to The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the ministry’s Family Day celebration yesterday, the minister said the centre has been useful for research and education purposes since it opened in 2012.
“The public are (already) aware with some of the work we have done and we need to do more (research) work on sensitive things like the marine life,” he said.
It was previously reported earlier this year that the centre attracts nearly 3,000 visitors every year.
The centre, which is currently filled with informative displays on the sultanate’s oceans and seas, receives more than 30 student visitors on most days, especially before school holidays.
It was designed to foster greater public understanding of the marine ecosystem and inhabitants.
The minister said it was important to improve public awareness as a way of preserving coral reefs and the marine habitat.
The coral protection initiative has enabled the ministry to set up the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) on local waters where no fishing is allowed within the zones.
“We have banned trawling (that can damage the corals) and we do not allow people to catch fish near the shore…” he said, adding that there are still illegal fishing activities in the restricted areas.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya also said that people who still conduct illegal fishing have yet to become part of the ministry’s efforts in protecting the corals and may not understand why the regulations were implemented.
“There must be (strong) cooperation between the government and members of the public to stop other people (illegal fishermen) from going to the protected areas…” he said.
The Marine Biodiversity Centre offers rehabilitation and treatment for rescued marine animals besides conducting research and education programmes.
The Brunei Times