UTB Vice-Chancellor, Datin Paduka Professor Dr Dayang Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman took part at a symposium entitled ‘Sustaining Marine Biodiversity through Blue Economy Symposium’ co-organised by the Ministry of primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) together with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC) held at the Pro Chancellor Arts Centre, UBD. 

Present as the Guest of Honour was Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).

The Vice-chancellor was in  the first session of the symposium carrying the theme ‘Blue Economy: Balancing Economic Growth with Marine Conservation’ delivered by five speakers, moderated by Dr Abby Tan from UBD. The speakers include UTB Vice-Chancellor; Dr Camille Goodman, Senior Lecturer and Head of Postgraduate Studies, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollogong, Australia; Dr Manuek Gonzalez Rivero, Principal Research Scientiest, Australian Institute Marine Science, Australia; Lisa Benson, Marine Ecologist, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS), United Kingdom; and Ketut Putra, Asia Transboundary Ocean Senior Advisor, Conservation International, Singapore.

The presentation by the Vice-Chancellor focused on the Sustainable Blue Economy, with a particular emphasis on Marine Fish. She highlighted that the fisheries sector is the oldest component of the blue economy, but it faces various global challenges such as declining stocks, population growth, the impact of Covid-19, loss of biodiversity, and changes in ecosystems. To address these challenges, effective management strategies and collaborations are necessary.The Galapagos Islands, situated in the Paste region, possess a significant resource of finfish species, totaling 68 different types. She also added that overfishing has been a notable concern, but through the implementation of sustainable management practices, targeted actions for specific species, and fishing regulations, the conservation of marine fish fauna has been achieved. According to the Vice-Chancellor, the objective of the study was to provide an overview of the status of finfish species and develop management plans specifically for the blue economy, focusing on the protection of the vulnerable sailin grouper.

This forum aims to serve as a dedicated platform for fostering dialogue on promoting Blue Economy concept, promoting advocacy for its smooth adoption in national economic policies, as well as facilitate linkages between the high-level policymakers, the industry, the investment community, civil society, and innovation hubs.