WorldFish will now implement the first phase of the NOK 9.5 million Norway-funded Fisheries Sector Support Program over the next two years.
This agreement represents an important step towards improving fisheries information, exploring fishery potential and developing a national fisheries strategy for Timor-Leste, after which a further investment phase is planned.
The signing follows a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Timor-Leste is Asia’s newest nation, and has a strong national development focus on reducing malnutrition and poverty. The potential benefits of the fisheries sector have not yet been fully realized and the agreement represents a window of opportunity for fisheries to play a stronger role in contributing to improved food security and local livelihoods.
The signing was witnessed by Mr Henning Johansen, Counsellor for Timor-Leste and Head of the Political Section at the Norwegian Embassy. Referring to the now-concluded Oil for Development programme, he said it was natural to move from non-renewable resources cooperation to renewable resources cooperation.
Marcos da Cruz, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said: “Timor-Leste has great potential for fisheries but lacks accurate data on available fish stocks. Therefore, the project will help the Timorese to develop a sustainable fisheries strategy and to feed the population at the same time.”
WorldFish is also working, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, to deliver priority projects identified in the National Aquaculture Development Strategy Implementation Plan.