Nearshore FAD support to Atauro Island, Timor Leste
Rabu,
Atauro-

In July 2013, Secretariat of Pacific Community(SPC) provided technical support in rigging and deploying three (3) artisanal nearshore fish aggregating devices (FADs) or ‘rumpon’ at three sites along the east coast of Atauro Island in Timor Leste. Atauro Is is 22 nautical miles north of Dili and has a population of about 10,000 people who are mostly artisanal fishers and subsistence farmers.

 

Timor Leste is a target beneficiary country of the EU funded DevFish2 project.  The SPC/DevFish2 project assessed that there was little scope for industrial tuna industry development in Timor Leste and fisheries are likely to remain predominantly small scale into the short to medium term for a while.  During the project’s scoping mission, a priority need registered was for FAD capacity development in the country.

 

SPC/DevFish2 liaised with WorldFish and identified Atauro Island.  Atauro Island had a local marine management area (MMA) program supported by the local community and the local eco-resort -Barry’s Place. This location was focussing on traditional governance systems (‘tara bandu’) with potential chance of success.  It was considered that the MMA will be greatly enhanced with the FADs inclusion.

 

The eastern coast of the island is the most populated side and further this side of coast line is characterized by a narrow fringing reef which is considered to be heavily fished.  This project is designed to promote fishing effort transfer.

 

The National Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NDFA) had 4 staff as local counterpart trainees.  Two officers were from headquarters in Dili and the other two were local fisheries officers from the island.   Glen Cleland, a local resident on the island was also involved in the project. The project implementation team were pleased with the working attitude and interest from the local participants and considered that the locals have gained some insights on the FAD technology.

 

Because of language difficulty, WorldFish and the local NGO –Roman Luan assisted in facilitating series of awareness workshops with the local communities.

 

With subsequent fishing around these FADs, the performance, productivity and impact on the local community will be assessed.

 

Although there were some challenges, generally the implementation team are pleased with how the project went and consider it successfully implemented.

David Mills from WorldFish stated;  WorldFish has been working on Atauro Island for a couple of years and our participatory planning with communities pointed to FADs as an important tool for reducing pressure on reef resources, and improving livelihoods of fishers . It has been fantastic to have SPC’s experience on-board to provide training and handle the technical side of FAD deployment - the communities are very excited to see this moving ahead”

The coordinates and information of these FADs were also communicated to the regular water taxis that ferry between Dili and Atauro and also sent to the Habour master in Dili.

 

For further information on the project activity or  EU-funded DevFish2 project contact Jonathan at SPC (   jonathanm@spc.int )