Aleixo da Silva said he had “no comment” about the future operation of Pingtan, saying only that the company had made no attempts to hide its catch when its 15 vessels were investigated.
The comment came after widespread public outcry from conservationists demanding the Timor-Leste government explain the vessels were able to operate in the south Timor Sea without proper monitoring.
The government granted the 15 Chinese vessels a 12-month permit last November to fish inside its sovereign waters for just US$312,450.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Chinese company running the boats, Pingtan Marine Enterprise has boasted previously that each of its vessels can generate annual revenue of approximately US$3 million.
Pingtan was banned from Indonesian waters in 2015 and threatened with court action for alleged theft of fish.
Silva said the vessels were being investigated by a task force led Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo.