Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Turning the tide on reef damage

James Kon

The Brunei Government this year allocated BND3 million to increase yields in the capture industry, with projects that include the construction and deployment of artificial reefs at coastal areas.

The artificial reef areas serve as protected spaces to breed small fish and enrich marine resources within Brunei waters, at the same time helping to increase productivity of marine resources by over 50 per cent.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) cum guest of honour Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab shared this during the World Ocean Day 2022 celebration organised by Reef Check Brunei at the Nur Huda Hall of the Muara Fish Landing Complex yesterday.

Another ongoing effort by the Fisheries Department, she said, “is the increased deployment of artificial rig reefs with the help of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP). For this, redundant offshore oil rig platforms are turned into artificial rig reefs, in accordance with legislation established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam under the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications to ensure the deployment process is orderly”.

It is hoped that the planting of young coral reef and the expanded artificial reef areas will catalyse biodiversity growth and lend support to the Fisheries Department’s marine biodiversity conservation and preservation initiatives.

“In 2008, the United Nations (UN) declared June 8 as World Ocean Day. Today, we mark the event and commemorate the vast contributions the ocean have brought into our lives, with the goal of supporting blue economy initiatives. We also stand united in preserving its sustainability through the strengthening of scientific and technological research,” Hajah Tutiaty said.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab with invited guests and officials from Reef Check Brunei and the MPRT. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
Hajah Tutiaty ties a string around a frame that will be placed in the ocean to stimulate coral growth
Hajah Tutiaty tours a booth

“This year’s theme ‘Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean’ emphasises the importance of collective action to save the oceans – the main heartbeat of the world.

“The UN Ocean Science Decade 2021-2030, in line with the target of sustainable development goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Global Agenda, demands collective action at all international, national and local levels by empowering scientific research and technological innovation in relation to ocean science with the needs of the global community,” she said.

It has become a platform allowing all tiers of society to play their respective roles, employing a whole-of-nation approach to preserve the marine ecosystem.

All parties are required to increase global awareness on the human benefits of the oceans, especially in the fisheries and tourism sectors. Action must also be implemented to maintain the well-being of the ocean, either individually or via an integrated approach at the national, regional and international levels.

Efforts to save the marine ecosystem from threats cannot be shouldered by one party alone, with Hajah Tutiaty believing that “it requires continuous collaboration of research and technological innovation between the scientific community and policymakers, businesses and even civil society.

“Integrated scientific knowledge and expertise across a wide range of marine sciences can help in the formulation of effective policies and action plans to address the threat of pollution, over-exploitation of resources and habitat degradation.”

She also said, “Reef Check Brunei is implementing the Coral Restoration Brunei project, which was re-activated in January 2022 to identify suitable methods of planting young coral to produce genetically diverse coral, which is nursery capable of increasing marine biodiversity.

“The government strongly encourages such an initiative, which involves the marine science community and one that is able to instil a sense of care and responsibility in preserving marine life and increasing youth’s capacity in the conservation of coastal biodiversity.”

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