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 Fishermen suffer income losses after reclamation

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BerichtOnderwerp: Fishermen suffer income losses after reclamation    vr 21 aug 2015 - 5:20

The Jakarta Post, Fri, August 21 2015,

As giant developers begin their mega projects, constructing islets for commercial purposes as part of a controversial coastal reclamation project to create 17 man-made islands, more than 1,000 traditional fishermen are suffering losses and facing an end to their occupations as their access to the sea is restricted.

Asmara, 53, was preparing nets he would use to catch fish the next morning on his traditional boat on a sunny afternoon at Kali Adem fishing village in Muara Angke, North Jakarta.

The traditional fisherman, who used to catch fish near Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK), a residential area in northern Jakarta, said a project conducted by publicly listed developer Kapuk Naga Indah had caused him and his fellow fishermen to suffer losses as they could not catch as many fish as they used to.

The developer has been constructing an artificial island to the north of PIK to accommodate luxury houses, hotels, condominiums, business centers, shopping malls, offices and recreational areas.

“When the developer started the project in 2012, they restricted us catching fish in the area. Now, indeed, they’ve started to loosen the restriction, but the fish are gone as the project’s waste has contaminated the water,” Asmara said.

Kapuk Naga Indah could not be reached for comment.

Asmara added that his earnings had slumped to a maximum of Rp 1 million (US$74) per fishing trip, from Rp 3 million. “Even Rp 1 million is hard to earn in fishing season,” said the man who has been fishing in the area for 43 years. He has to divide the earnings with seven to 10 fellow seamen after subtracting costs.

As a result, he said fishermen had to sail further to get fish, such as to Tidung Island, part of the Thousand Islands located some 20 kilometers north of Jakarta, meaning that they needed more diesel.

Asmara said he and his friends had found difficulties in obtaining the diesel as they could only afford to buy fuel jerricans from Muara Angke’s only fuel dealer station for fishermen (SPDN), while the government had prohibited buying fuel in jerricans.

North Jakarta mayor Rustam Effendi said the fishermen could get diesel in jerricans only at Cilincing SPDN. “They actually can also get it at Muara Angke, but with a recommendation from the North Jakarta Maritime and Fisheries Agency head,” Rustam said.

The city administration and the central government have planned to build 17 islets in the reclamation project.

Other developers besides Kapuk Naga Indah include city-owned PT Jakarta Propertindo and PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol as well as publicly listed PT Intiland Development and PT Agung Podomoro Land (APL).

The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen Association’s (KNTI) coverage secretary-general for North Jakarta, Kuat, said the issues had forced many traditional fishermen at Muara Angke to switch occupations to garbage collection, driving ojek (motorcycle taxis) or opening bike washing businesses.

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