10 Feb Training to Support MPA Management in Timor-Leste

CTC recently delivered two trainings to local governments and coastal communities in Timor-Leste to assist them in the management of the marine protected area (MPA). The training activities aimed at enhancing participants’ skills and knowledge in marine conservation while encouraging them to pass on the information to their peers in the hopes that it would lead to improved nature and people’s livelihoods from the eco-friendly marine tourism industry.

The first training was about monitoring special marine biota, specifically sea turtles, for educational tourism purposes within a conservation area. It was held in Dili in December 2022 and attended by 24 participants from the Nino Konis Santana National Park, Atauro Island MPA, and Samba Sembilan MPA in Liquica. The second training on MPA management was also held in Dili from January 24–27, 2023, and was attended by 25 participants who were different from those in the first training. Several co-trainers from the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) assisted CTC trainers in delivering all course materials.

All participants learned about four main topics: identifying sea turtle species, monitoring sea turtles, handling sea turtle nests, and developing marine wildlife observation tourism. The classes provided theoretical lessons, followed by hands-on practicals on the beach, including how to measure the size of turtle nests, relocate the eggs, and monitor hatchery sites for potential threats. They were also taught how to reduce negative impacts from marine tourism activities and develop guidelines for educational and research tourism for turtles that are appropriate and applicable for the characteristics of their respective regions.

Robela Mendes, a woman participant from Com Village in Los Palos, said that she and other villagers had previously attempted to salvage turtle nests that had been disrupted by humans by transferring them to a safer area. However, it was a failure, as the eggs at the new sites did not successfully hatch. She added, “From this training, I just realized that the relocation of turtle nests needs to be done in a specific way and with caution for it to be successful.”

Participants in the second training about MPA management also learned about interesting topics such as coastal ecology, setting up MPAs, designing MPAs, and monitoring and evaluating MPAs. The four topics were delivered by combining the delivery of material with the presentation of material and group activities. The training aimed to enable participants  to recognize the potential resources available in MPAs, identify stakeholders, and evaluate and monitor MPAs. CTC is dedicated to providing ongoing capacity-building for local coastal communities and MPA management personnel for effectively managed MPAs and successful marine conservation in Timor-Leste.

Since 2012, CTC has been assisting the Timor-Leste government in developing capacity for larger-scale MPA and marine resource management. CTC first laid the groundwork for developing MPAs in Atauro Island and Samba Sembilan in Liquica in 2017 by conducting a series of preliminary biophysics and socioeconomic surveys with the MAF Timor-Leste, with funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the Waterloo Foundation. This year, we anticipate the official declaration of the Atauro Island MPA and Samba Sembilan MPA by the Minister.

Text: Yoga Putra, Denny Boy Mochran, Kasman, and Aulia Priandina
Photos: Aulia Priandina/CTC & Kasman/CTC

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