Timor-Leste loses about US$300 million per year due to illegal fishing

Timor-Leste loses about US$300 million per year due to illegal fishing

Environment Minister, Demétrio do Amaral de Carvalho. (Image/Egas Cristovão)

DILI, 13 june 2022 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste loses about US$300 million per year due to illegal fishing in the Timor Sea, the Secretary of State for the Environment (SoSE), Demétrio do Amaral de Carvalho has revealed.

“Illegal fishing in Timor-Leste’s sea is a major concern for the Government of Timor-Leste. It is estimated that we lost around 300.000 tons of fish due to illegal fishing. Thus, illegal fishing costs this country US$300 million in lost revenue every year,” the Secretary of State for the Environment, Demétrio do Amaral de Carvalho, told TATOLI, at his office, in Bebora, Dili, on monday.

He said Timor-Leste has been losing such significant revenue since the formation of the First Constitutional Government following the restoration of the Independence in 2002.

Carvalho said, therefore, the current government after participating in the 2018 Bali Ocean Conference “Our Ocean, Our Legacy” has been strengthening a number of Timor-Leste’s national policies, including Timor-Leste’s biodiversity policy to promote the protection, conservation, and sustainable use of biologically diverse ecosystems and habitats in Timor-Leste’s ocean.

The government of Timor-Leste, under the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak’s leadership has been looking for ways to combat illegal fishing in the Timor Sea.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Ruak and his former Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, were committed to a joint effort to prevent illegal fishing in the Timor Sea.

Apart from illegal fishing, the two Prime Ministers also committed to working together to prevent the Timor Sea from being used by people smugglers, and other transnational criminal actors.

To prevent such illegal fishing, Morrison and Ruak pledged to deepen cooperation on maritime security, and Former Prime Minister Morrison confirmed Australia’s commitment to providing two Guardian class patrol boats, the Aitana and Laline, to Timor-Leste, next year.

The two leaders welcomed the work underway to prepare for the delivery of the two vessels, including infrastructure upgrades at Port Hera Naval Base on Timor-Leste’s north coast.

Finalization of the shipbuilding arrangements of the Austal-built and designed Pacific Patrol Boats is underway, with Timor-Leste due to receive the two vessels in 2023.

The then Australian Minister for the Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator Marise Payne said that Australia’s gifting of the two vessels will help enhance Timor-Leste’s capability to patrol its maritime borders and protect its natural resources in the Timor Sea from illegal fishers

The two vessels had been built by Austal for Timor-Leste under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, which in total is worth over US$300 million.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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