15 Jun CTC Presents Results of Marine Rapid Assesment Report of Liquica and Atauro Islands

This month, the CTC team presented the results of marine rapid assesment of the proposed Atauro Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network and Liquica MPA to the senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) in Dili.

The presentation was attended by 41 participants lead by the MAF Director General for Fisheries Acacio Guteres as well as representatives from other national agencies such as the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Tourism. Other participants represented various local stakeholders in Atauro and Liqiuica including head of villages and  fishermen representatives as well as non-government organizations in Timor-Leste such as Roman Luan Foundation, Haburas Foundation, Conservation International, World Fish and PEMSEA, amongst others.

In order to support the government of Timor-Leste in establishing the MPA in Atauro and Liquica islands in the north and west of Dili, CTC conducted the coastal ecological surveys in Atauro Island and the coastal Liquica on September 28 – October 10, 2017 in collaboration with MAF and Roman Luan Foundation

The results show that the average percentage of live coral cover (hard and soft corals) at the 15-observation points in Atauro Island is 55.78% (category: good), with an average fish abundance of 1,365 individuals/hectare of the 11 family target. The average reef fish biomass in Atauro Island is 336.8 kg/hectare. The highest average biomasses are found for snapper (Lutjanidae), surgeonfish (Acanthuridae), and bumphead fish (Scarini), respectively amounting to 114.7 kg/hectare, 95.4 kg/hectare, and 68.7 kg/hectare.

Meanwhile, in the coastal Liquica, the survey result shows the average of 51.3% (category: medium) live coral cover (hard and soft corals) at three observation points with the average reef fish abundance of 903 individuals/hectare.  Two groups of fish namely surgeonfish (Acanthuridae) and bumphead fish (Scarini) are classified into the commercial fish group, were encountered in all locations of observation with an average abundance of respectively 672 individuals/hectare and 101 individuals/hectare.

The average biomass of reef fish in the coastal Liquica is 90.8 kg/hectare. The highest average biomass includes surgeonfish, rabbitfish, snapper, bumphead fish amounting to respectively 39.5 kg/hectare, 32.6 kg/hectare, 11.8 kg/hectare, and 4.8 kg/hectare.

Following the presentation in Dili, CTC will also present the results of the survey to the local communities in Atauro and Liquica as part of the public consultation process in setting up the proposed MPAs.

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