Timor-Leste Unveils Aquaculture Development StrategyCatch of the Week
The Government of Timor-Leste has unveiled its first Aquaculture Development Strategy which aims to develop the local aquaculture sector and help strengthen food security in the country.
In its report titled Prioritization of Fisheries Management Zones on Timor-Leste’s North Coast, the government outlined strategies on investments in managing Timor-Leste’s coastal and marine resources and identified key sites that are important for fisheries productivity.
The government also outlined the development of more policies to develop its marine fisheries sector under the Aquaculture Development Strategy.
“Now, it is time to turn our attention to the policy and strategy frameworks for development of the marine fisheries sector. This simple report provides the preliminary notes to guide coming discussions about investments in managing Timor-Leste’s coastal and marine resources,” said Rafael Pereira Gonçalves, Timor-Leste’sSecretary of State for Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The report focused on prioritizing fisheries management areas in coastal and marine areas with depths between 0 meters and 40 meters, along the north coast of Timor-Leste.
Five priority areas for fisheries replenishment have been identified, namely Atauro, Batugade, Behau, Metinaro, Buruma, and Mehara.
The report said there are habitats and ecological features that did not show up as important in the initial review due to the scarcity of data available at the time. Several of the sites,despite being ecologicallyimportant, have experienced considerable damage.
There are a number of key sites expected to achieve maximum fisheries replenishment benefits in the short to medium term under the aquaculture strategy.
Experience from previous attempts to manage marine and coastal areas in Timor-Leste have shown that sustainable financing of the large-scale marine and coastal areas is almost impossible at this time, the report also said.
This is due to the many competing national priorities and limited state budget allocation for the fisheries sector, combined with the trend for most bilateral and multilateral partners to provide financial support for projects of limited length.
Conservation International,the USAID Coral Triangle Support Partnership, and the Government of Australiaare supporting Timor-Leste in its fisheries management strategy.