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Timor-Leste is surrounded world-renowned marine resources. Fishing licenses are available to off-shore foreign operators to fish for export in the exclusive economic zone. Private sector investment has introduced prawn, grouper, and sea-cucumber farming for export markets. Many individual, small-scale operators catch a range of fish including tilapia, milkfish, groper, shrimp, seaweed and crabs.

Fishery hatcheries have been established in Ermera as part of Timor-Leste’s National Aquaculture Development Strategy. The Ermera hatchery has the capacity to produce up to 5 million fish fry per year. The New Zealand Aid Programme funded Partnership for Aquaculture Development in Timor-Leste is helping develop the fish farming industry, providing training, planning, feed supply systems and access to market. There are further opportunities for development and investment in fisheries.

Opportunities exist to significantly improve the productivity of this sector whilst remaining ecologically sustainable. Fishing and fish farming provides and exciting opportunity to investors to build and develop an emerging industry from the ground up.