From: Associated Press
Published April 13, 2007 12:00 AM

Brunei To Curb Commercial Fishing Amid Dwindling Marine Stocks

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei -- Brunei will impose a moratorium on commercial fishing in coastal waters starting January 2008 following a plunge in fish stocks, an official said.


Only small-scale, individual fishing will be permitted until marine resources recover to sustainable levels in waters known as Zone 1, which covers 3 nautical miles (4.8 kilometers) from Brunei's shoreline, Fisheries Department officer Ranimah Abdul Wahab said Thursday.


According to Fisheries Department statistics, fish stocks in this tiny sultanate on Borneo island fell 43 percent between 1980 and 2000. The worst affected area was Zone 1, where waters are as much as 50 meters (165 feet) deep. No current data was available.


Brunei has a coastline stretching 130 kilometers (80 miles). Its sea territory spans 38,600 square kilometers (14,900 square miles) with fishing areas separated into four zones.


The country has one of Southeast Asia's highest rates of per capita fish consumption, and has to import about 50 percent of its fish needs to supplement local fishing.


Each resident consumes an average of 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of fish per year, resulting in an annual national demand of 15,500 metric tons (17,000 U.S. tons), according to government data.


Source: Associated Press


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