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ASEAN ANALYSIS  15 September 2010

Even small Brunei affected by climate change

By David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs   15 September 2010

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Although it is one of the world’s and Asean’s smallest countries, Brunei appears to be extremely environmentally conscious. However, even tiny Brunei is impacted by global warming.

A University of Malaysia researcher recently discovered widespread bleaching off the Brunei coastline in Sepanaggar Bay.

Researcher Saleem Mustafa said that oceans take up half of the CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels and that this acidification of the seawater interferes with the corals and their calcifying activity.

Adding to the stress is the rise in the sea water temperature that disrupts the symbiosis between the corals and the nutrient gathering zooxanthellae, resulting in the whitening of the corals in the bay.

Mustafa noted that reef fisheries provide food to 200 million people throughout the world and the live reef fish trade earns millions of dollars that are a major share of the earnings of artisanal fishermen.

He called attention to the need for marine biodiversity and called for surveys to determine marine biodiversity needs .

In affluent areas of the world, one may choose beef, pork, vegetables or fish. But significant numbers of the world’s population rely on the sea and its fish for their protein needs. Failing to take care of the seas threatens the existence of those depending on fishing for their livelihood and daily meals.

Corals aren’t just pretty, they provide an integral part of the underwater marine system that sustains fish life that feeds millions.

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