In the half-island nation of Timor-Leste, a FISH scaling country, around 75 percent of the country’s 1.2 million people live in rural areas where livelihoods depend on the farming of crops and livestock, largely of a subsistence or semi-subsistence nature.

With 41 percent of the population living below the national poverty line and over half of all children under five stunted, combating poverty and malnutrition has been the top priority of the Government of Timor-Leste since the country gained independence in 2002.

FISH aims to boost aquaculture and small-scale fisheries production and promote community-based resource management of coastal fisheries to strengthen livelihoods and combat malnutrition. The Timor-Leste National Aquaculture Development Strategy (2012–2030), developed with assistance from WorldFish, has been effective in guiding systematic development of the country’s aquaculture sector and was well received by the government and other stakeholders.  

Current priorities include: 

  • Developing resilient fisheries and sustainable aquaculture technologies and capacity to enhance the role of fish in food security, nutrition and income
  • Promoting social-ecological resilience for SSF-dependent communities using co-management approaches
  • Combining nutritional education with an increase in demand and reorientation of fisheries management and aquaculture production
  • Incorporating and strengthening the role of women in community and national fisheries governance processes