Scuba divers turning hunters

MUARA, Brunei - The Minister of Industry and Primary Resources has expressed concern over certain section of scuba divers who have turned hunters and are causing damage to marine eco-system.

In an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that those who carry out marine activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling, should not "become the problem themselves".

"That means they don't disturb the marine life. Don't dive and take the opportunity to become a hunter," he said, during the interview on the sidelines of the World Oceans Day celebrations.

"There had been cases where people who know how to dive, but use the diving or learning to become a killer for instance, spearfishing. We must stop that, that's why we stress on responsible diving," he added.

"Just because you know how to dive, don't start to use your knowledge (and) start becoming a problem. You start spearfishing, or start catching slow-moving fish for your aquarium, for business. That's not the way to do it," YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya stressed.

The minister went on to say that as responsible divers, they must understand the do's and don'ts of diving.

"They are not supposed to touch the corals, they are not supposed to break the corals, they are not supposed to catch any of it and they are not supposed to poach any of the marine wildlife," he said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya also reiterated the adverse impact of sea pollution and destructive fishing. He said one form pollution was fishing nets being purposely left in the coral reef areas or unintentionally caught in the coral.

"If they do it by purpose, then it's something that they should not be doing but if it is by accident, maybe okay, or maybe they shouldn't have been there in the first place. But it does a lot of damage (with) that kind of pollution because it ( fishing net) catches indiscriminately," he said.

"And then we mentioned about the use of illegal fishing equipment and (practices) like dynamites and cyanide poisoning which falls under indiscriminate killing and this will not only kill fish but corals will be destroyed."

"So we're concerned about those (activities) but at the same time our ministry and fisheries department are active in removing nets and making public aware and in the long run, we are going to set up the MPAs," the minister assured.

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