Commercial fishing gaining ground in Brunei
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MORE people are venturing into commercial fishing as it is seen as a viable means of earning a living in the sultanate, said the minister of communications.
In a recent interview with The Brunei Times, Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat said the increase in the number of fishing vessels being registered from 2014 to 2015 reflects the growing interest in fishing activities among the population.
The Marine Department recorded 1,049 registrations of fishing vessels in 2015, up 72.8 per cent from 607 fishing vessels in the previous year.
“This shows that fishing activities are growing, and this reflects our economic activities as there is demand for it (fishing industry) in the country,” he said.
The commercial value of capture fisheries production in the sultanate increased by more than $10 million last year to $84.98 million compared with $71.5 million in 2014.
Despite the increase, the minister said the level of fishing activities in the sultanate is still ‘limited’ and not on par with those in other countries.
“But the opportunities for our waters are there and our fishery resources are well-managed and maintained by the relevant departments and agencies in ensuring that we continue to have these resources,” he said.
He said aside from commercial fishing vessels from private companies, the increase in registration of fishing vessels also included those of ‘conventional boats’ or traditionally built boats commonly made out of wood or fibreglass owned for fishing purposes.
“Fishing has been popular among retirees (as) something to fill in their time. But there are also some who venture into fishing to earn extra income,” he said, adding that most owners of fishing boats are usually self-employed and involved in fishing activities full-time.
He underscored the importance of fishing vessels and boats in the sultanate to be registered under the Marine Department for security and safety purposes.
“One of the reasons for this is so that it makes it easier for the government to regulate water vessels operating in our waters. The registration will also help us in identifying owners in cases of emergencies or accidents.”
The Brunei Times