National Fisheries Statistics website for Timor Leste


- The task of gathering and organizing fisheries data is so daunting a task, the fisheries staff in developing countries often donít know where to start. In both Aceh and Timor Leste, one strategy we found useful to start to engage the stakeholders is to give them a website. I know what you are thinking, very standard sort of deliverable that development projects create all the time. They usually last for about a week, and then after the project shuts down, nothing. That being said, I think websites can be good tools, e.g. to provide a framework and a process through which stakeholders can start to collect and organize their fisheries information; to increase communication and transparency.

Originally, the task in Timor Leste was to teach the fisheries staff how to produce the fisheries statistics to send to FAO. In discussions with national fisheries staff it quickly became apparent there was a huge need for the development of some basic skills before we could get to the stage where they could deliver fisheries data.

So as a first step, we decided to concentrate our efforts into helping the country setup the system to collect the right types and volumes of data. That instead of trying to teach each of the staff to collect the data and produce the statistics in their respective districts, we would have them enter the data through the website and we would have routines on the website do the statistical analysis.

Within the first year, Timor Leste inspected and licensed every boat in the country (N>2500) and made the information publicly available to other departments and partner organizations . Additionally, for the first time they have collected fisheries catch data from the fishermen and aggregated that at the country level. This data has been submitted as Timor Leste's data contribution to international authorities. You can view this and more at through the website.