Be proactive with reef check surveys, divers told
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Marine Biodiversity Centre (MBC) is calling on diving operators and recreational divers to be involved in the conservation of the nation’s marine ecosystem by being proactive in conducting reef check surveys on the nation’s coral reefs.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, Desimawati Hj Metali the head of MBC said that reef check surveys are significant and should be done annually to provide up-to-date data to be more aware of the shifts and changes experienced by the nation’s marine biodiversity.
She added that the centre has facilitated a reef check survey recently that was organised by Oceanic Quest and funded by Shell Deepwater Borneo.
The last reef check survey conducted in Brunei was in 2012.
The programme involved trainers from the Reef Check Foundation to train locals including government officials as well as diving operators in conducting reef check surveys with methods that are internationally recognized.
“What we want is to create a level of interest in the country’s divers to voluntarily conduct reef check surveys while at the same time doing what they love (diving),” she said.
Desimawati added that diving operators should also start recruiting volunteers and conduct their own reef check surveys in their own time as the marine ecosystem plays a big part in their livelihood.
“The reef check surveys are very important, and should be done annually if possible, because it allows us (MBC) to address a problem before it accelerates such as White-band disease,” she said.
“Even if annual reef checks are not possible, divers can conduct surveys every three months (and) approach us (MBC) with their data to be compiled,” she added.
Desimawati went on to say that should diving operators have interest in conducting regular reef check surveys, they can approach the MBC in terms of procuring funds as well as to provide facilities, if needed.
She said that diving operators only need to approach the centre with a proposal to conduct the survey and the centre will try its best to deliver the proposal to any interested parties who are willing to provide the funds.
“We have been waiting for divers (operators and recreational) to approach us regarding ways to protect the country’s marine ecosystem including conducting reef checks, but so far there have been none,” she Desimawati.
The Brunei Times