Thursday, 1 May 2014

Timore-Leste creates two new marine protected areas

Timor-Leste is one of the youngest independent nations in the world, yet it is making good progress in establishing protected areas for some of its most important natural sites, while complementing BIOPAMA’s goals in the Pacific region.

Timor-Leste recently announced the formation of two new marine protected areas, located off Atauro Island and off Batugade. While the marine parks are small in size (approximately 40 ha each), they represent an important step in protecting the young nation’s natural assets. These are the second and third marine protected areas to be established in Timor-Leste, following the creation of the Nino Konis Santana National Park marine protected area in recent years.

Atauro Island is a small island approximately 25 km north of the capital Dili, across a deep ocean strait that has a maximum depth of approximately 3,500 m. Batugade is located on mainland East Timor, approximately 70 km south-west of Dili and close to the border with Indonesian West Timor. The marine parks will protect some of the important marine resources close to these land areas, such as impressive coral reefs that are increasingly popular for diving. Healthy marine ecosystems are also critical in supporting the livelihoods of local coastal communities.