By Azlan Othman & Azrol Azmi
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office made a working visit yesterday to project locations under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources around the Brunei Bay.
His Royal Highness visited the Selirong Island's Forest Recreational Park, Aquaculture Hatchery sites in Tanjong Pelompong, the Fish Landing Complex in Muara and later the Setia Ali Mosque for midday prayers as well as the Royal Brunei Navy for a luncheon.
Selirong Island covers an area of 2,566 hectares, and it is the policy and aims of the Forestry Department to preserve its environment, especially the mangrove swamps and endangered species.
The park can assist the country's drive for eco-tourism.
Aquaculture industry is also the sector that has the potential to contribute towards the economic diversification programme.
It is one of the projects actively carried out to achieve the call by His Majesty in developing or diversifying the Sultanate's economy.
Fish breeding and hatching began in 1990 and at present, four of such sites have been identified.
At the initial stage, each entrepreneur was given 0.2 hectare of land.
Currently, 40 entrepreneurs operate at the four sites.
The operations started in 1996.
The fish bred and hatched at Harvesea Enterprise Company are sea bass, white and red fish as well as grouper, among others.
A total of 40 cages are now available.
Meanwhile, the Idot and Jane Pet Shop Company also cultures and breeds among others white fish, sea bass and grouper, with a total of 76 cages.
The site also attracts foreigners and tourists, who catch fish and grill at the area for a cost of $12 per person, thus promoting the eco-tourism industry.
Meanwhile, Florid Development Enterprise has 18 cages and breeds grouper.
To date, 3,500 groupers are found inside their cages.
The fish are for both the local and outside market, most notably Taiwan.
Florid expects to produce more than 10 tonnes of grouper in the next two to three years.
- Borneo Bulletin
(27th June 2007)