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Marine Invertebrate Small-Scale Fisheries in Timor-Leste: Monitoring, Management and Sustainability

Project description

Tools for sustainable marine invertebrate small-scale fisheries

Marine invertebrate small-scale fisheries (SSF) are a big factor in terms of food security and economic growth. Even though they are vulnerable to coastal changes, they are frequently overlooked in fisheries research and marginalised in policymaking processes. Besides, the women who are actively involved are not accounted for in fisheries statistics and data. The EU-funded SHELLFISH project will study the numerous social and ecological processes that shape and affect marine invertebrate SSF through performing transdisciplinary research in Timor-Leste, developing comprehensive tools and strategies for long-term accountability and sustainability. SHELLFISH will combine anthropological, ecological, and fisheries methods to assess the diversity, extent, and dynamics of marine invertebrate SSF and identify ecological and social drivers of change, vulnerability, and sustainability.


Marine invertebrate Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) contribute to food security, nutrition and to national and global economies and growth. Despite their societal and ecological importance and vulnerability to rapid coastal changes, these fisheries remain frequently overlooked in fisheries research, lack of management plans and are marginalized in policy-making processes. Moreover, the role of women, actively involved in these fisheries, is not reflected in fisheries statistics and census data. There is an urgent need for a global perspective in the management of marine invertebrate SSF combined with local assessments and monitoring that integrate fisher’s perceptions,views and knowledge. SHELLFISH aims to understand the multiple social and ecological processes underlying and shaping marine invertebrate SSF, while developing inclusive tools and strategies for their long-term accountability and sustainability. To achieve these goals, the present project will undertake transdisciplinary research in a small, insular country that will display “magnifying glass” effect to the entire process: from theory to applied science to the influence of policy-making processes. SHELLFISH will link anthropological, ecological and fisheries approaches to (i) assess the diversity, extent and dynamics of marine invertebrate SSF, and (ii) identify ecological and social drivers of change, vulnerability and sustainability. Parallelly, the firmly entrenched political position of the host institution in the third country, and a series of wisely planned outreach activities will facilitate the incorporation of research outcomes into policy and governance actions. The project results will create stronger links between knowledge production and societal transformation, and will be of particular interest, including in Europe, where ecological, socio-cultural, economic and political factors are key to explain the vulnerability, resilience, intersectoral and gendered opportunities of the SSF sector.


Net EU contribution
€ 264 259,20
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Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

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