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Traditional Fishing Communities Protest at Coastal Law

INDONESIA - Traditional fishing communities in Indonesia have called on the government to drop the law on coastal management that requires them to secure fishing licences.

The fishermen claim that a 2007 law on the management of coastal areas and small islands will only benefit bigger businesses, not small-scale fishermen, according to reports in teh Jakarta Post.

"The law will be detrimental to small fishermen," Arbani Nikahe, head of South Kalimantan's fisherman association, told The Jakarta Post after a rally last week.

Dozens of fishermen representing 13 provinces staged a rally at the ministry of fisheries and maritime affairs, calling on the government to side with low-income fishermen.

The law allows fishermen and the private sector to manage coastal areas and small islands by showing ownership certifications effective for 20 years.

"It will only profit big entrepreneurs as they have the capital to manage ownership certificates. We can't afford (that)," Arbani told Jakarta Post.

The protest came in response to the government's preparations to implement the law, slated to take effect in June.

View the Jakarta Post story by clicking here.