I AM writing this from the perspective of both an eco-diver and environmental enthusiast. On World Ocean Day June 8, 2013, a landmark declaration was made that, … with the consent of His Majesty … the Department of Fisheries will enforce the ban on the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters off Brunei Darussalam and thus their sales in domestic market…”
With that in mind, may I point out that shark species are still spotted around fish markets (and independent businesses) around the country.
Understanding that this is the fisherman’s means of living, shouldn’t there be a consideration for the setting up of industrial fish farms to help cater to the seafood demand in the country thus also providing additional employment?
The reason for this letter is not to take fishing rods off the hands of fishermen or nets off the hands of trawlers, but to highlight the dire need to educate people about the importance of responsible fishing and ensuring that in the many years to come we are able to enjoy the best of both worlds – a full stomach and an abundance of underwater marine life.
Recent articles in the local newspapers about conserving the coral life in Brunei waters put my mind at ease knowing that more people will be able to enjoy Brunei’s diverse dive sites and the possibility of expanding dive-tourism.
It goes to show that albeit a niche group, Bruneians are trying to educate the public about the importance of underwater marine life.
Corals take years, if not decades, to grow and attract marine life to call it home; fishes take years to grow to a ‘decent’ size before they could be caught under commercial fishing and yet the public is probably unaware that we are currently consuming fishes of less than half the size that we used to consume 20 years ago.
Their main concern is to increase their consumption, which demands for an increase in supply regardless of consideration for the already-struggling marine life.
I have received and read many articles regarding the catching of numerous rare marine species, which get caught in trawlers’ nets, but have yet to read an article that will help provide alternatives to the fishing industry.
We cannot teach what they are not aware of. However, I am just one person and my opinion may not be heard (or go unread) but I would rather take a very small step to help raise awareness than taking none at all.