First public-private model fish hatchery Opens in Timor-Leste, Set to Boost Aquaculture Growth

The first public-private model fish hatchery in Timor-Leste has opened today in Leohitu, Bobonaro, representing a critical step toward realizing the National Aquaculture Development Strategy (2012-2030), which aims to boost fish supply from aquaculture to 12,000 tons by 2030 and reduce undernourishment by increasing per capita consumption of fish from 6.1 to 15.0 kg.

Information source: Press Release World Fish.org

The hatchery was inaugurated by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sr. Cesar Jose da Cruz, and the New Zealand Ambassador to Timor-Leste, H.E. Philip Hewitt, as part of the USD 4 million Partnership for Aquaculture Development in Timor-Leste (PADTL) project (July 2014–August 2019).

Eng. Joáquim José Gusmão dos Reis Martins, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Timor-Leste: “Growing the aquaculture sector provides a huge opportunity to provide quality nutrition and enhance livelihoods in Timor-Leste. But access to quality seed remains a limiting factor. The new hatchery will greatly increase the access and availability of quality inputs in Bobonaro municipality, thereby enabling fish farmers to expand their existing operations.”

The hatchery was co-funded by the project and owner Joao Da Silva, who will operate the hatchery with six staff and technical support from the government and WorldFish through the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems. The hatchery was planned and constructed in six months (November 2018–April 2019). In the six weeks since breeding started on 18 April, the hatchery has produced over 1.7 million eggs, which will produce around 0.5 million fingerlings once nursing is complete.

Each year, the hatchery is expected to produce 2–3 million genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) fingerlings, which will be sold to a large number of fish farmers in Bobonaro and other municipalities as well as non-government organizations supporting aquaculture development in Timor-Leste. It is estimated that the hatchery will start generating a profit within six months.

The Bobonaro hatchery will produce broodstock provided by the government GIFT hatchery in Gleno, which was established by the project in March 2016 using GIFT broodstock imported from the WorldFish headquarters in Penang, Malaysia. Until now, the Gleno hatchery has distributed on average 0.4–0.6 million fingerlings annually to local fish farmers. But in the future, it will only provide broodstock to private hatcheries, once established, for reproducing and distributing to local fish farmers.

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