Fishermen in Bunutan in the Amed area of Karangasem have complained to local authorities after the owners of a villa project denied them access to a road leading to the beach from which they launch their boats.
Karangasem vice regent Made Sukerana visited the site of the conflict last week after the complaints from around 200 local fishermen, asking for access to the beach through land owned by the developer to be reopened.
Sukerana had previously asked the local representative of the foreign-owned investment project to allow the fishermen access to the beach during a meeting at his office in Amlapura.
“We’re worried that this could develop into a bigger conflict,” he said, explaining that the access road had traditionally been used by local fishermen, but that problems had begun once the five-hectare plot was sold for development.
Local representative of the developer Wayan Adiasa said they had already provided assistance to the fishermen by building them a storage space for their outboard motors on the beach.
“We’re only concerned that if the fishermen continue to press us with requests after we’ve given them a place to store their motors, asking for access, then they’ll just keep asking for more and more,” he said, adding that he would take up the matter with his employer.
Responding to this, vice-regent Sukerana said that anything offered to the fishermen by the investor would be worthless if they were not allowed access to their traditional mooring place.
“If the fishermen aren’t allowed access, or the fishermen are evicted, then building them a storage space isn’t going to be much use, and the use of it will come back to the investor in the end,” Sukerana said.