THE BRUNEI TIMES | Tuesday, 31 March, 2015
Tuesday, 31 March, 2015 | THE BRUNEI TIMES
Deborah Koh, 22, student
ONESTLY, I was quite surprised to hear about the
shark hunting issue. A
500kg shark is huge. It’s
disappointing no one immediately reported the incident to the relevant authorities. To make matters worse,
people actually circulated images of it on social media.
I feel it is indeed necessary to save sharks.
I’m pretty sure that most people are aware
that sharks are an endangered species, which
means they are likely to become extinct –
gone forever! Sharks play a vital role in balan-
cing the marine ecosystem – just imagine a
simple food chain where one animal cannot
live without another. When sharks are overfished, other marine animals will certainly be
I think the shark trade ban in Brunei is a
good start. However, the government or relevant authorities should impose tougher
laws on shark poaching and place more emphasis on the consequences of overfishing.
The Fisheries Department should appoint officers to inspect returning fishing vessels
when they dock. They can also appoint patrol
officers to make surprise inspections at sea.
Furthermore, the authorities could also carry
out routine inspections of restaurants that
serve Asian cuisine to ensure that non-shark
products are being served.”
(Left) This file photo taken on September 1,
2007, shows a worker preparing shark fins for
sale in Hong Kong. Shark fin is seen as a delicacy in Hong Kong and southern China. However, animal rights advocates and environmental groups say hunting sharks for their fins
is decimating stocks and could lead to their extinction. Picture: AFP
Wong Thye Sing, 30, managing director of Poni
N MY opinion, I think we in Brunei have
never really had a big problem with the
catching of sharks, unlike in other countries which have fishermen who only look for
sharks. They fin the sharks and sell them as
their main business. In the Sultanate, our issue
is more one of by-catch (or untargeted catch).
A lot of fishermen go out to fish but not (specifically) for sharks. We don’t actually have a
large population of sharks in our waters.
So I think the problem is one of by-catch. As
fisherman go out and catch fish, sharks get
caught in nets along with other fish. But the
real purpose of the fishermen is not to catch
sharks. In other countries, they have come up
with different kinds of nets or the fishermen
use hooks. Both these strategies reduce the
amount of by-catch because fishermen only
catch the fish species they are looking for. In
my opinion, this approach sounds interesting
and could maybe be introduced here in
I run a diving centre and I am in discussions
about how we can raise awareness of this
It is necessary for us to save sharks in our
waters as they are very important in our
marine ecosystem. They are at the top of the
Without them we could have a lot of
problems with our coral reefs and with
our fish population. Sharks are often referred to as the doctors of the sea because they eat the sick fish. There is a
balance in the oceans and sharks play a big
part in the (marine ecosystem) balance.
In Brunei, people do know there are not
many sharks, surprisingly. Our reefs are quite
healthy, and sharks play a major part in
keeping reef systems healthy. Sharks are a big
indicator of the health of a reef. Even though
we have healthy reefs, we don’t have many
sharks. There is something not right. Where are
our sharks? I do not know.
We have seen that sharks are victims of bycatch in Brunei. They turn up at the fish market
and are sold cheaply. I do not know of anybody
in Brunei who makes a living out of selling
sharks or shark fins. I think that along with the
introduction of the right (fishing) techniques,
we can educate the fishing community about
the importance of sharks, with the support of
corporate sponsorship, the government and
diving shops. It would be amazing if sharks
come back.”
A hammerhead shark seen at the SEA Aquarium, Singapore. Brunei banned the import, sale and consumption of shark products last year. Picture: BT/Kelvin Chua
Ira Ali, 21, student
and anything that is
at the top is
integral to the
food chain as
a whole.
HAD not heard about the recent shark
hunting issue in the Sultanate, but I’ve
heard that it goes on. I don’t know if
it’s a huge issue or if it’s getting
worst. I am an animal
lover, so I
can’t understand why animals are killed, especially those that are possibly endangered.
Well I’m not entirely sure why it is necessary to save sharks, but just like any other animal, they are also worth saving. We can’t
wait until there are only a few left to finally
do something. It is quite hard to increase the
awareness of the elderly. Most won’t listen.
This generation needs to ensure rules are
properly enforced.
I think it’s good that Brunei has introduced the (anti-shark hunting)
law. Maybe we should try to
improve public awareness of shark hunting. If
there were campaigns to
help save sharks, I would
lend a helping hand. Most people
aren’t doing anything because they
can’t see how endangered these sharks are.
Greater awareness is super important when
it comes to saving them.”
Nabilah Awang, 22,
(Top) Bull sharks at the SEA Aquarium in Singapore. (Above) This undated handout
photo from the University of Queensland and taken by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries shows a pure common black tip shark (‘C limbatus’), the most
abundant species in Australian waters. (Below) A hammerhead shark is for sale at Lampulo traditional fish market, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Sharks are hunted by local fishermen for their fins to be exported to Asian countries such as China and Singapore.
(Right) A file photo of a tiger shark, weighing an estimated 500kg, thought to have been
illegally sold at Jerudong Wet Market. Pictures: BT/Kelvin Chua, Agencies, and BT file
ECREASING the population of one
species could lead to a disruption in
the populations of other species. It’s
a matter of keeping the ocean’s ecosystem balanced; if we disrupt it to a drastic extent, the effects would undoubtedly affect our lives as
I think one of the best ways of raising public
awareness is through the media, ie newspapers, television and radio. On top of that, word
of mouth could have an immediate impact.
I think it’s great the Sultanate is enforcing
the law on shark hunting. Shark hunting and
finning is an issue that affects the ocean’s ecosystem and not just our country. I think the ban
is great because it’s our country’s contribution
to maintaining, sustaining and ensuring balance in the world’s marine life.”