MBC plans to increase number of eco-divers
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Marine Biodiversity Centre (MBC) plans to train certified local divers to become eco-divers with a view to strengthening the conservation of marine biodiversity in the country.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Desimawati Hj Metali, the head of the centre, said that the potential eco-divers will be trained to conduct reef check surveys to assess the health of marine life, including coral reefs.
“We are planning to train the certified divers because they are the ones who dive every day (and) their livelihood depends on diving as well as the health of the marine life,” she said.
“These divers will be directly affected should anything happen to the reefs (so) they are the perfect candidates to become the guardians of the coral reefs in Brunei,” added Desimawati.
She added that the eco-divers will also be trained to look at the indicators that can determine the overall health of the coral reefs, adding that the data obtained by the eco-divers will be used by the MBC for administrative purposes.
“From their data, we at (MBC) will able to gauge the health of the marine life in Brunei waters (and) can take the necessary actions should some of the reefs face potential danger,” she said.
Desimawati added that the centre is planning on conducting reef check certification training for divers in April, however she said that it is not confirmed as they still need to take into account the instructors that are needed to train the divers.
She said that the programme is in its finalisation stage but she is hopeful that it will happen this year, adding that it will help strengthen marine conservation in Brunei. “We hope that once the divers are certified as eco-divers then they will in turn provide training to other interested divers and increase the number of certified divers to conduct reef check surveys,” she said.
“In Malaysia, they already have a Reef Check Malaysia (so) hopefully, with this proposed programme, maybe one day there will be a Reef Check Brunei,” she added.
The Brunei Times