[Coral-List] Fishing nets damaging corals (Brunei)

Tracy Gill - NOAA Federal tracy.gill at noaa.gov
Mon Jun 3 10:03:30 EDT 2013

 Fishing nets damaging corals

Posted on June 3, 2013, Monday

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR)
is currently working to establish a Marine Protected Area to further
conserve and safeguard the coral reefs and marine life in the Sultanate.
The project is expected to be launched this year, Borneo Bulletin reported.

The latest initiative to protect Brunei’s beautiful coral reefs and its
marine habitat was revealed by Minister of Industry and Primary Resources
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Yahya bin Begawan
Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar yesterday when he led a group of 116 divers to a
coral reef near the Pelong Rocks for an underwater cleaning campaign held
in conjunction with the World Ocean Day.

“We are still working on legal and geophysical requirements in identifying
the GPS position. We are planning to launch it this year,” he said.

The minister sent out an important message for the public – “Love the ocean
and keep the marine habitat healthy” – as the ocean plays a vital role for
the country.

“We have to appreciate the vital role that the Ocean plays and marine life
which is not just a source of food but also as an avenue for tourism and
increasing fish resources in Brunei as well as maintaining Brunei
Darussalam’s image of a green ocean and blue sky.”

However, after coming up from a dive, the minister expressed his
disappointment after finding that numerous fishing nets were left behind at
the coral reef.

“It’s disappointing and doesn’t serve the interest of anyone.

“There are reports that fishing nets were left behind by some fishermen
after their nets got stuck in the corals. Fishermen are not allowed to use
nets in the area. Many cases of nets left behind in the coral reef area
were reported. Fish gets caught in the net and dies.

“We cannot remove nets that are already tangled with the corals because
that will damage the corals. We can only cut off the nets which are not
attached to the corals.”

It is important for the public to understand the role that marine life
plays. “It’s everyone’s responsibility, especially fishermen, to keep the
marine habitat healthy to sustain the marine life. An example is the Parrot
fish. They play a vital role in coral reef whereby their feeding activity
is important for the production and distribution of coral sands in the reef
biome, and can prevent algae from choking corals as well as help build
sandy beaches.”

He added: “The corals help replenish the fish stock in the country whereby
the fish will feed on the corals and if the corals are dead, there is
nothing for the fish to feed on. It is important that our corals are alive
with fish.

“Therefore we need to protect our corals for the sake of also replenishing
our fish stock. We have started with a photography competition; next week
will be the seminar as well as other activities to learn about the ocean
and its functions,” he added.

At the certificate presentation, the minister expressed his heartfelt
gratitude to the divers who participated in the cleanup at the Pelongan
Island as well as the Meragang Beach. The participants were from the
Fisheries Department, Marine Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Poni Diver
Club, Oceanic Quest and others.

Also present at the ceremony was Dayang Hajah Normah Suria Hayati binti
Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Dr Hj Awang Mohd Jamil
Al-Sufri, Permanent Secretary at the MIPR as well as Abdul Halidi bin Mohd
Salleh, the Acting Director of Fisheries Department.

The underwater cleaning campaign was to raise awareness on appreciating the
contribution of the ocean to humanity as well as to support the aspiration
of Green Brunei to instil the love of the beaches among the people in the

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