75% of fish species diversity lost

National 1 minute, 43 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

A FISHERIES Department study shows that Brunei has lost 75 per cent of its diversity of fish species, prompting the government to ban the use of trawlers next year.

Citing the 2010 study, Acting Director of Fisheries Hj Abdul Halidi Hj Md Salleh said the loss of biodiversity of fish species increased from 12 per cent in 1999 to 75 per cent in 2010.

“The decrease in biodiversity of marine resources is very alarming,” Hj Abdul Halidi told The Brunei Times in a recent interview.

“Marine fisheries resources in Brunei waters has decreased significantly by about 79 per cent of the total fish stock since 1979. To date, about 21 per cent of marine fisheries resources are left in our waters,” he said.

With this in mind, Hj Abdul Halidi said the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources will ban all trawlers on Brunei waters by 2016.

In a separate interview, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said the ban hopes to promote long-term food security in the country.

The specific date on the implementation of the trawl ban has not been confirmed.

Hj Abdul Halidi said several activities need to be conducted to inform stakeholders – such as fishermen and trawl operators – before the ban is implemented.

A series of roadshows, dialogues and consultations in all districts are in the pipeline, allowing those affected to have more time to prepare and adjust to the ban, said Hj Abdul Halidi.

The acting director added that enforcement of the ban will be carried out by personnel of the department, as well as other enforcement agencies such as the Marine Police and the Royal Brunei Navy.

The MIPR minister, during this year’s Legislative Council session, said that overfishing is one of the factors that has led to the decline of fish stock in Brunei waters.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said this was why the ministry introduced marine protected areas to replenish depleting fish stock while maintaining the biodiversity of coral reefs and fisheries.

The Brunei Times