Maritime survey of Timor-Leste’s coasts released

On Wednesday, June 29 the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially handed over its five-year survey entitled Interdisciplinary Baseline Ecosystem Assessment Surveys to Inform Ecosystem-Based Management Planning in Timor-Leste to Timor-Leste’s Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry.  The final report shows that Timor-Leste’s marine areas have high biodiversity, but overfishing has led to less big fish in Timorese waters.  The survey also warned that plastic rubbish, deforestation and climate change also threatens Timor-Leste’s maritime areas. The Agriculture Minister Estanislao Aleixo da Silva thanked the U.S. government for funding the important survey which he said will help the government to protect its marine wealth. In related news, U.S. Ambassador Karen Stanton said the report emphasized how science-based management for fisheries conservation is important to improve food nutrition and strengthen climate-change resilience in Timor-Leste