Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Contact: USAID Development Outreach Communications Officer James Reindl, 330-0500 ext. 2016, 7723-0577. Email:  jreindl@usaid.gov or Development Outreach Communications Specialist Cristóvão Fausto Guterres, 330-0500 ext. 2038, 7732-6213. Email: cguterres@usaid.gov. Joseph Truong, JOTruong@usaid.gov and Wiraporn Srisuwanwattana, WSrisuwanwattana@usaid.gov, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, Melinda Donnelly, Melinda.Donnelly@oceans-partnership.org,

DILI, Timor-Leste – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Regional Secretariat Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), convened representatives from Coral Triangle member countries in Dili, Timor-Leste, to continue the region’s progress toward fully traceable, sustainable and equitable fisheries.  The Coral Triangle region, comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, encompass the world’s most biodiverse marine area, which has tremendous influence over global food security, livelihoods and marine conservation.

From June 24-28, the countries will join workshops hosted by the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) and its partner, the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), that have been designed to assess each country’s current capabilities for seafood traceability and fisheries management, as well as their individual needs and priorities.  By learning more about new seafood traceability technology supported by USAID and how it can be leveraged to enhance fisheries management, the participants will work together to develop customized action plans to guide continued national and regional progress.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a core challenge being faced not only across the Coral Triangle region but globally, where it is estimated that over 26 million tons of fish are caught illegally on an annual basis, with losses of up to $10 billion to $23 billion.

Diana B. Putman, Director of the USAID Mission for Timor-Leste, said “We are committed to partnering with Timor-Leste to develop a strong, healthy nation with a diverse economy and thriving environment. Protecting the marine ecosystem is vital to the success of our partnership if Timor-Leste is to develop sustainable fisheries and a nascent tourism industry that someday could add millions of dollars to the economy.”

Electronic seafood traceability is now widely accepted as one of the most effective and efficient solutions to the global challenges of IUU and sustainable fisheries management.  Since 2015, USAID Oceans has worked across Southeast Asia to develop electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) tools, as well as bridge members of the public and private sectors to use these tools to implement robust, transparent and interoperable traceability systems that benefit trade, fisheries management and millions of livelihoods.

“Many of the Coral Triangle countries have already been working over recent years to develop and implement national seafood traceability systems, ahead of the curve in fisheries development and management,” said Dr. Hendra Yusran Siry, Interim Executive Director of the CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat.  “These workshops present an opportunity for regional integration, sharing and action planning that is critical to develop a joint approach to plan for the long-term prosperity and stability of a sector that over 350 million Coral Triangle residents rely upon for their food, income, and employment.”

Over the course of the week, member countries will work with the USAID Oceans program to identify and analyze national challenges and opportunities, generate strategies for industry engagement, learn about new traceability technologies, and advance regional traceability guidance that is being developed by the program.


USAID/Timor-Leste Mission Director, Diana Putman, provides key note remarks, alongside Mr. Acacio Guterres, Timor-Leste’s Director General for Fisheries. Photo: USAID Oceans/M. Donnelly


ABOUT USAID OCEANS: The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) that works to strengthen regional cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, promote sustainable fisheries, and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region.  The backbone of the program is the development of financially sustainable catch documentation and traceability systems, supporting data-driven fisheries management and initiatives for responsible, equitable seafood supply chains.  Through its pilot programs, USAID Oceans has developed and tested traceability technologies for small- and large-scale seafood operations, tracked approximately 30 metric tons of seafood, and is improving sustainable fisheries management in over one hundred million hectares of biologically significant marine habitat.  For more information, visit www.seafdec-oceanspartnership.org.