Protecting marine ecosystem, one ghost net at a time

Reef Check Brunei, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), recently organised a ghost net removal dive to promote Dive Against Debris surveys under the Project Aware initiative in the country.

According to a statement, Dive Against Debris is “a citizen-science programme that empowers scuba divers to remove marine debris from the ocean and report data on the types, quantities and locations of materials collected”.

Reef Check Brunei has its eye set on strengthening the conservation of coral reefs in Brunei Darussalam.

“The Sultanate’s marine ecosystem has largely been unstudied,” said the NGO.

“Surveys conducted have been few and far in between.”

Divers showcase ghost nets removed from the waters. PHOTO: REEF CHECK BRUNEI

Should more studies been carried out on a regular basis, it added, the data collected can be used “to discover new coral reefs that could become diving sites”.

A dive was made on August 30, joined by Future Ocean Borneo Miri and the Jolly Roger. The two organisations have been actively going around Borneo Island to assist local dive centres in protecting the marine environment.

Twelve divers removed nearly 55 kilogrammes of ghost nets from the waters surrounding Pulau Pelong-Pelongan, located within the marine protected zone.

According to Reef Check Brunei, most coral reefs have been given a reprieve due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Over the years, coral reefs have been subjected to a tremendous amount of damage. But since the onset of the outbreak, the restrictive measures implemented have allowed most coral reefs in Brunei time to heal and regrow.”