RFLP   (2012-06-13)

Small-scale fishers engaged in patrolling Timor Leste waters.

*Community-based IUU Strategy

- Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (RFLP) currently has in operation a pilot project where small-scale fisher boat captains have been provided with personal locator beacons. These devices have recently become available through the consumer market. They are relatively inexpensive and operate in near real time with the boat’s current location being updated on the internet every fifteen minutes. The concept is to loan these units to artisanal and small-scale industrial boat captains fishing in Timor Leste waters. These units have two buttons, if they are in danger of sinking they push one button, and if they see illegal fishing they push the second button. Pushing either one of these buttons causes SMS messages to be sent to fisheries staff with the boats position, date and time and the fisheries staff can notify the proper authorities; search and rescue or the police and military. The benefits to the fishers participating in the project are: • if they are in danger of sinking, the captain now has a way to call for help. • if the boat is overdue, their families can come into to see where they are and that they are OK. • helping to patrol for illegal fishers means more fish for Timor Leste fishers. The benefits to natural resource managers are: • engaging local fishers to help combat illegal fishing • get to see where the fishers are going and what they are catching. • start to build relationship with the fishers so that when management plans are implemented, a relationship already exists with those fishers that they will want to participate. The benefits to government: • saves time, fuel, money, boats. Increases surveillance at very little cost. • starts to build relationships so that when fisheries management plans are implemented, a relationship already exists with those fishers that will need to participate. RFLP co-management strategy This initiative is part of the RFLP co-management strategy, the main goal of which is to effectively engage government and fishers in the management of the coastal and marine resources.