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FAO in Timor-Leste

Launching Ceremony of Research Vessel held in Dili Port – DILI, 13/06/2019


The launching ceremony of the research vessel, R.V. Chulabhorn from the Department of Fisheries, Thailand was held on the 13th of June at the Dili Port. Guests included Mr. Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, Minister for Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. José Agustinho da Silva, Minister for Transport and Telecommunication and Ms. Acharapan Yavaprapas, Minister and Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission of Embassy of Thailand. The Government of Thailand through the Department of Fisheries under its bilateral cooperation program will undertake a repeat survey of the waters of Timor-Leste using its research vessel, the R.V. Chulabhorn in close consultation with the Government of Timor-Leste and the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) Timor-Leste to allow a systematic comparison of any changes in the conditions of the fishery and oceanographic conditions. The survey will cover North and South Coasts of Timor-Leste with FAO’s “Enabling transboundary cooperation for sustainable management of the Indonesian Sea” covering the northern coast.

Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative, showed his appreciation to the governments of Thailand and Timor-Leste and said that this collaborative survey will provide an unbelievable amount of resources in the future. He added, “there’s also big concern from both Timor-Leste and Indonesia governments about the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Government of Timor-Leste and Indonesia is taking action. The survey will allow out to do the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which will be the baseline to the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) that the two country will put together

Ms. Yavaprapas, said that “Thailand is ready to send experts to train Timor-Leste’s officials and fisherman as requested.” She added, “Thailand reaffirms its interest to invest in the fisheries sector in Timor-Leste. I hope that the joint survey is a stepping stone to extend operation in other sectors in the field of both in fisheries and agriculture. This survey will not only strengthen the existing relationship between Thailand and Timor-Leste but also undertakes specific bilateral activities of cost and benefit of both countries.”

The importance of the survey to the Timor-Leste government was mentioned by Mr. Magalhães. He spoke up about the importance of this initiative and how it will affect the government and the people of Timor-Leste. He said, “one needs to know the stock, the scientific element of fisheries in order to produce or to come up with policy proposals. The government of Timor-Leste cannot make decision and cannot design development programs or policies without being informed about the availability of resources in stock, about the challenges of our oceans and other related factors that contribute to agriculture and fisheries that we have in our country.”

A systematic and scientific survey of Timor-Leste waters off the north coast will provide data on the oceanographic conditions, primary and secondary production and assessment of the status and condition of pelagic fish stocks in the EEZ waters to the north of Timor-Leste. The study is to focus on tuna and other pelagic species in order to understand the stock, species composition, distribution, catchability of fish species and other specific species in the EEZ of the northern Timor-Leste waters. The study also extends to analyzing micro-plastic pollution an aquatic environment and its impact to food chains, oceanographic, hydro-biological factors, biological characteristics of some fish species and some other economically important species.

R.V. Chulabhorn has departed from Thailand to Timor-Leste with 10 cruising days. It arrived and moored at Dili Port on 7th June where the ship will take on provisions complete port formalities and the embarkation of 5-10 Timorese officers. For fisheries the surveys will consist of pelagic long line operation for 5 days, 5 stations; drift gill net operation for 4 days, 4 stations; and oceanographic observations for all 9 stations in the Northern Timor-Leste’s waters for the EEZ and will depart to the southern coast of Timor-Leste’s waters.