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Arafura and Timor Seas Expert Forum (ATSEF)

Contact Persons

  • Dr. Tonny Wagey
    Regional Coordinator, Arafura and Timor Seas Expert Forum
    Jl. M.T. Haryono, Kav. 52-53, Jakarta, 12770
    Indonesiar /> Phone/Fax: +62 21 79180175
    Email: t.wagey@fisheries.ubc.ca
  • Dr. Ilse Kiessling
    National Coordinator - Australia Arafura and Timor Seas Expert Forum (ATSEF)
    PO Box 41321
    Casuarina, Northern Territory
    Australia 0811 r /> Tel. +61 (0)8 8920 9933
    Fax. +61(0)8 8920 9934
    Mobile. +(0)408 318 944
    Email: Ilse.Kiessling@environment.gov.au


The Arafura and Timor seas are contiguous, semi-enclosed seas bordered by Indonesia and Timor-Leste to the North, Papua New Guinea to the East, and Australia to the South. Water from the Pacific Ocean flows into the Indian Ocean through the Arafura and Timor seas, and provide corridor for migration to some marine mammals.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the Forum is to assist in achieving the goals of sustainable development and poverty alleviation in the Arafura and Timor Seas region, particularly for the coastal communities, who depend upon marine and fisheries resources for their livelihood.

Focal Issues

There are five priority foci to which the Forum directs its research activities.

1. Preventing, deterring and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Arafura and Timor Seas:

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a major cause of unsustainable stock depletion, endangering the survival of species and of marine and coastal habitats. It prevents the sustainable use and development of the seas’ living resources.

2. Sustaining fish stocks, sustaining marine habitats and coastal and marine biodiversity:

Knowledge of the condition of harvested species, marine biota and of their habitats is the essential prerequisite for wise management of the living resources.

3. Assisting sustainable and/or alternative livelihoods for coastal and indigenous Communities:

Research and action undertaken to ensure sustainable livelihoods and the well-being of indigenous and coastal communities is essential to the pursuit of the Forum’s objective of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

4. Understanding the marine, coastal, and catchments system dynamics of the seas:

A profound understanding of the system dynamics of the seas is the basis for achieving ATSEF priorities and the sustainable use of the seas’ living resources.

5. Improving capacity for data information, management and sharing between the littoral nations of the seas:

Without information sharing, the knowledge base for the sustainable management of the seas and use of its resources will not be accessible to managers, government agencies, coastal and indigenous communities, commercial operations and other stakeholders who require it. Data management is also essential to prevent wasteful duplication of research.

Ecosystem services assessed

Fish stocks, marine habitats, coastal and marine biodiversity, and wetland ecosystems.

Key features of assessment area

These semi-enclosed seas are the global maximum for marine biodiversity. They are among the few seas where stocks depletion has been minimal, though that status is deteriorating rapidly. This area is also known as one of the hot spot of IUU fishing activities in the region. The near coast of much of the region consists of wetlands/ floodplains that are critical to migratory bird species. Despite this abundance, 50% of the population of the coastal communities and the littoral states live below the absolute poverty line.

© 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment