Ministry looks to continue replenishing tiger prawn stocks

National 2 minutes, 27 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MORE than 500,000 baby tiger prawns have been released into the Temburong river in a bid to replenish the fish stock in the rivers and promote sustainability in the fishing industry.

The Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong said during the ongoing 12th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday that the tiger prawns which were released were the product of the main fish production centre in Serasa and the Sungai Jambu Freshwater Aquaculture Centre.

“The fisheries department will continue carrying out the release of tiger prawns not just in the Temburong river but also in the rivers of the Tutong district from time to time when the need arises,” he said.

In addition, the minister said that the fisheries department is in the process of forming a strategic alliance with a private enterprise located in Kg Rampayoh, Ulu Belait to ensure the steady supply of tiger prawn eggs without relying on the government.

“Syarikat Deli Duman, which breeds tiger prawns, will also ensure that there will be a supply of tiger prawn eggs to tiger prawn farms should the need for it arises in the future,” he said.

“In the meantime, the fisheries department is still operating a fish hatchery in Kg Meragang whose main objective is to supply high quality prawn breeds to fish hatcheries that are disease-free to counter shortages of prawns,” he said.

The minister also said that two local companies have been offered sites to establish a fish farm and hatchery to increase the production of fish in the country, although the identities of the two companies were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, the minister said that the ministry will continue to engage fishermen in dialogue to discourage them from the practice of trawling in commercial fishing.

“Currently we are having dialogues with (fishing) operators which use trawling nets to subtly persuade them to voluntarily change their (fishing) methods to a more sustainable method of fishing,” he said.

InsyaAllah, through roadshows and other means, this will pave way for them to continuously be proactive in the fishery sector (so as not to damage the fish stock),” he said.

The minister said that he hoped the dialogue with fishermen would help resolve the issue as an outright ban on trawling would cause these fishermen to lose their livelihood.

During the 8th LegCo session in 2012, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Hj Tahamid Hj Nudin proposed a complete ban on all trawling in a bid to protect Brunei’s fragile marine ecosystem and preserve existing fish stock which has been depleted 75 per cent of fish biodiversity in Brunei.

The ministry in its previous guise as the ministry of industry and primary resources had planned to ban all trawling off Brunei’s shores but in a recent interview with The Brunei Times, the acting director of the fisheries department said that the proposed regulation was “being re-evaluated considering its impact on the livelihood of trawler operators”.

The Brunei Times