‘More studies should be conducted on Brunei Bay’s marine mammals’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MORE research should be conducted on the marine mammals in Brunei Bay in order to improve management and conservation of the species, said a researcher from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT).
Associate Professor Dr Saifullah A Jaaman of UMT’s Institute of Oceanography and Environment said that he along with other experts from UMT have done some studies regarding the marine mammals in the Malaysian side of Brunei Bay.
He said the Brunei government or relevant agencies from the private sector should conduct the same studies in Brunei’s side of the bay.
“At the moment, we know that basic information regarding marine mammals is very lacking in Brunei,” he told The Brunei Times.
Dr Saifullah said that during their studies on the Malaysian side of the bay, they hypothesised that the marine mammals would roam around Brunei Bay for food as well for socialising.
He found that this hypothesis was true when he conducted a preliminary survey on Brunei’s side of the bay recently with a number of other marine life experts.
“When we visited the Brunei waters, we found that marine mammals like the Irrawaddy Dolphins, the group of dolphins that we came across here, are the same ones that we encountered in the Malaysian side of the bay,” he said.
Therefore, he said, studies from Brunei’s side of the bay are crucial as it would allow him to study the species that came from the Malaysian side of the bay and compare it with the data from the Brunei side.
Asked what type of data he needed from Brunei’s side, he said “The population dynamic, behaviour, feeding and social structure of the marine mammals so we could compare it with our own findings.”
He said the data is also necessary as it may aid in the management and conservation of the marine mammals, which he said could also become a sustainable source of revenue for Brunei.
He said marine species like the Irrawaddy Dolphins, Dugongs and Sea Turtles, all of which can be found in Brunei Bay, are potential resources for marine eco-tourism.
“Through the study of these marine mammals, we can learn how to better protect them (and) at the same time, we can also have a sustainable utilisation of these animals as a source of income for the country,” he said.
“It (the data) will also create a better public understanding about why we need to conserve and have a healthy marine environment.”
The Brunei Times