It looks as if the lure of profits has crept into the paradise of Bali. In south Bali, a developer wants to reclaim 1,730 acres and create artificial islets under a US$3bn luxury resort development that would cover half of Benoa Bay – an area that had conservation status until it was overturned in 2014 for so-called “revitalisation”.
This has spawned a ‘Tolak Reklamasi’ protest movement – and tens of thousands of angry Balinese have protested against the project.
Over in Jakarta, a mega project, initiated by Jakarta city administrators in 1995, would see private firms building 17 artificial islands in Jakarta Bay off northern Jakarta.
This project has been the subject of a corruption investigation while environmentalists and fishing communities want to press charges against those involved in the project, especially in three of the proposed islands.
A study by the Research Center for Marine and Fisheries Socio-Economics estimates that at least four types of losses would occur because of the reclamation project.
The study shows that for every hectare of reclaimed seabed, fishermen would lose Rp 26.89 million (US$2,068) annually, which would total Rp 13.44 billion annually if the total reclamation area amounted to 500 hectares. Meanwhile, the cost of losing the ability to harvest green mussels would amount to about Rp 85 million per annum.
Furthermore, the value of every 1 ha of fish pond lost to reclamation would be about Rp 27.9 million per year, while the cost of relocation and regenerating mangrove ecosystems would be about Rp 28 million per month for at least 10 years, totaling Rp 3.36 billion.
“We can charge them under Article 86 of the Fishery Law,” Marthin said.
The article stipulates that anyone who intentionally conducts activities in a fishing area that causes pollution or damage to fisheries could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and Rp.2 billion (US$152,000) in fines.
Marthin said those involved in the project could be charged under Article 69 of the Spatial Planning Law. According to the article, those who do not comply with a spatial plan could face three years’ imprisonment and Rp 500 million in fines.
Other than pressing for criminal charges, the fishermen and activists also plan to file a separate lawsuit against the city administration on allegations of damaging the environment and maladministration.
Does all this sound familiar?