Manatuto Municipality is located at the central part of Timor-Leste. It is bounded in the north by Savu Sea, in the south by Timor Sea, in the west by Dili, Aileu and Manufahi, and in the east by Baucau and Viqueque. It is the only municipality that has both southern and northern coasts. It has six subdistricts and 30 sucos (villages), an approximate land area of 1,788 km2, and coastline of 62 km. As of 2010, the municipality had a total population of 41,709. The major economic activity in the area is agriculture. The average annual fish production from 2005-2009 was 183,960 kg.
Key marine habitats in the municipality include mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass. A 12 ha locally managed marine area (LMMA) has been established in Lamsana, along the north coast. Manatuto Municipality is working with PEMSEA, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Timor-Leste, on the development and implementation of an ICM program focusing on habitat protection and rehabilitation, sustainable fisheries management, and alternative livelihood development, to be demonstrated in the areas of Lamsana and Maabat.