Upcoming environment conference to put spotlight on Brunei’s marine biodiversity

Posted on  03/05/2011  |  Media Centre

3rd May 2011

The upcoming National Environment Conference, which is being organised by Asia Inc Forum, will examine how Brunei Darussalam can develop its marine resources in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

According to a press release, the conference, set to take place on June 8, will also explore business opportunities around marine conservation.

Brunei’s 500 square kilometres of water supports a rich system of marine biodiversity and is host to around 600 coral species and a great fish diversity – a diversity unmatched by Hawaii and the Caribbean and as many species of coral as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Brendon Sing, the Founder of Shark Guardian who will be in Brunei as part of an education initiative by the International School of Brunei, will share his take on how Brunei can better preserve its marine biodiversity at the National Environment Conference. He has had over 14 years of shark diving experience in Johannesburg South Africa, Marmaris Turkey, Koh Lanta Thailand and Manado Indonesia.

Brendon first became involved in marine ecology in 1997 while undertaking a study in Marine Biology and Ecology at the University of Cape Town which took him to participate in several projects involving sharks including tagging of various shark species and studying the effects of shark migration including population counting, monitoring and data collection.

With a passion for sharks and diving while still a child, Brendon quickly found himself moving up levels in the scuba diving industry since he started diving in 1996 and soon became a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Instructor in 1998 where he immediately developed the first PADI Shark Awareness Specialty Diving course to teach divers more about shark conservation and diving with sharks.

He then established his own dive club company in 1999 and began shark diving expeditions and safari trips in South Africa where he essentially used divers to collect data for his field research.

Brendon commented: “I could have ended up researching and studying sharks as a profession, but I wanted to make a greater impact. I wanted to be direct and more front line in shark conservation efforts.”

In 2001, Brendon moved to Koh Lanta in Thailand to work as a dive trainer and in 2004, he reached the highest PADI Instructor level in the diving industry and became the youngest in Asia to reach PADI Course Director level.

Since then, he has been developing further his shark awareness specialty to train other instructors to teach the programme. Following his goal to make a huge impact in the conservation of sharks, he established the Shark Guardian in 2010 to head up shark educational and environmental presentations and lectures anywhere and to anyone in the world.

Brendon is expected to share his diverse experience of the underwater world and acquaint participants with learning of the truth about sharks, the roles they play in the eco-system and reveal their beautiful nature. He will be joined by leading overseas figures and local figures in the session “Celebrating Brunei’s Marine Biodiversity” at the 2011 National Environment Conference on June 8 at the Rizqun International Hotel.

“The rich resource under the sea is often overlooked given the competing interests of energy resource exploration and the urgency of protecting our marine biodiversity,” said Andrew Dy, the General Manager of Asia Inc Forum.

“It was recently reported that Brunei has only 26 per cent of its original fish stock left in its waters due to years of overfishing, which has led to the government imposing a fishing ban in specific areas since 2008.

“Overfishing is not just a local problem, but a global one that plagues many nations around the world.

“The rapid growth in the demand for fish is prompting calls for urgent measures and a new look at sustainable fishing to allow for regeneration of stocks which requires a collective effort.

“Hence, we would like this National Environment Conference to send a message about taking action and being part of the change for the good of our future generations.”

The National Environment Conference is a not to be missed annual opportunity to meet and interact with highly-recognised overseas resources who can provide new insights on ideas, which will be discussed at a public forum for the first time in Brunei.

This is a platform for learning about innovative practices and opportunities – an opportunity to gain a clear understanding of what each one of us can do to ensure that Brunei continues to develop as a sustainable nation. It is an important platform to assess how key environmental events around the world might impact our lives and businesses.

As Brunei’s largest conference on environmental and economic sustainability, the National Environment Conference aims to provide a platform for engaging the public and private sector on the issues of environmental stewardship, natural resources management, and green business for a sustainable future.

The National Environment Conference is convened by Asia Inc Forum in collaboration with Alcoa, Butra HeidelbergCement, Total and HSBC. It is also supported by the Borneo Bulletin and Media Permata.

Source URL: http://www.borneobulletin.com.bn/tue/may3h7.htm