THE Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) yesterday held a public awareness programme through a diving activity in coral reef areas to monitor the marine habitat of our waters.
Additionally, a visit was made to the ‘Coral Propagation’ project implementation site, where the replanting of coral reef has been ongoing since last year.
Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar joined the Acting Director of Fisheries Abdul Halidi bin Mohd Salleh, officers from Fisheries Department and Biodiversity Research and Innovation Centre, MIPR as well as Eco-Divers and Wasan Vocational School in the programme.
Among the objectives of the programme are to promote conservation of marine biodiversity in Brunei waters, and to develop eco marine tourism that is dynamic and resilient.
The initiative aimed to instil in people a sense of responsibility towards maintaining and protecting the marine habitat.
Many marine eco-systems have been destroyed by excessive exploitation, illegal fishing, shark catching, using tools that can destroy fishery source and pollution. Discarding and leaving damaged trawls can have long-term damage effect.
The morning activity focussed on areas surrounding Pulau Pilong-Pilongan, one that is rich in marine biodiversity and has the potential to become a tourist attraction. It is situated two nautical miles offshore and has a beautiful, original reef. It has become of one of the marine protected areas as of January 1 this year.
The minister also had the opportunity to take part in the clean-up activity by divers from the Fisheries Department and Eco-Divers, as well as Wasan Vocational School.
The diving activity is routinely undertaken by the Fisheries Department since the launch of Coral Care Programme: Coral Awareness, Rehabilitation, and Enrichment last year.