Marine Symposium shines spotlight on illegal fishing

The Sustaining Marine Biodiversity Through Blue Economy Symposium 2023 held at the Pro Chancellor Arts Centre in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) closed its three-day run on Thursday with a forum highlighting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

Titled ‘Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture: Enhancing Marine Biodiversity and Economic Development’, the dialogue explored a number of maritime topics that include the sustainable use of marine resources through maritime spatial planning but most importantly, combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU fishing).

A summary of the session stated that IUU fishing remains a lingering issue and a major source of discussion at the international level; both on the high seas and in areas of national jurisdiction, marking IUU fishing as a global threat to marine ecosystems, the economy and society.

Image courtesy of Fisheries Department

“This forum aims to equip key actors in this country with the knowledge they need to understand the complexity of these violations and the need for further strengthening international and national efforts in combating IUU fishing,” it said.

Among the speakers were Sheikh Haji Al-Idrus Sheikh Haji Nikman, Fisheries Officer and Head of Enforcement Section, Licensing & Enforcement Division at the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.

During his presentation, Sheikh Haji Al-Idrus underscored the efforts undertaken by the department in combating IUU fishing noting the development of Brunei Darussalam’s National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (NPOA-IUUF) in 2011.

“(The NPOA-IUUF) provides the blueprint of strategic actions and directions to address the issues and challenges of IUU fishing, which is also in accordance with the Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) to promote responsible fishing practices including combating IUU fishing,” he said.

Image courtesy of Fisheries Department

Alongside this, he added that the Fisheries Order, 2009 and the Brunei Fishery Limit Act Chapter 130 are the main legislation and the backbone for fisheries management, plan, policies and strategies.

“Brunei Darussalam also conducts joint sea patrol operations with relevant law enforcement agencies to monitor, control and conduct surveillance (MCS) within Brunei Darussalam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) maritime waters,” he continued.

“This is another government effort and strategy to support the Whole of Government and Whole of Nation Approach,” Sheikh Haji Al-Idrus went on to say.

Other speakers during the session included Sean Wheeler from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; Dr. Simon Funge-Smith from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Sukchai Arnupapboon from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), Thailand and Gary Orr from the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand. The session was also moderated by Professor Dr. David J. Marshall from UBD.


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