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Could Coastal Law Improve Opportunities?

INDONESIA - The enactment of a new law No. 27/2007 2007 on the management of coastal zones and small islands could enable Indonesia to make better use of its coastal resources.

Indonesia's coastline, approximately 81,000 kilometers, is one of the longest in the world, surrounding 17,508 islands large and small. In total, around 60 percent of Indonesia's population lives near coasts.

One of the most crucial and controversial parts of the law is the introduction of a property rights system for coastal zones and small islands, namely the right to commercialize coastal zones (HPd), abbreviated as HP3, says Mohamad Mova Al Afghani in a report in the Jakarta Post.

The owner of a HP3 would be able to utilize a designated area of the coastal zone as an HP3 grants ownership of water columns (as well as small islands) in coastal zones.
Theoretically, there could be around 12 nautical miles times 81,000 kilometers of "greenfield" spaces in the sea, ready for exploitation, for up to 20 years. This could be seen as a huge business opportunity, especially for companies whose core business is aquaculture such as shrimp ponds, fishes, coral reefs, pearls. It may also appeal to eco-tourism, says the report.

What makes HP3 even more valuable is the fact that it can be used as security for loans.

Some NGOs and academics have expressed their concern over HP3. Some are of the opinion that HP3 should be totally rejected and some other only demand its modification by taking into account the rights of local and traditional fishermen. The arguments against HP3 vary. Natural disasters like tsunamis should also be taken into account.

View the Jakarta Post story by clicking here.