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Tanjung Benoa Fishermen Erect 'Illegal' Fish Market

Angered at Lack of Response from the Government, Bali Fishermen Build a Fish Market on Government Land without the Needed Licenses and Permits.

(3/21/2009) Bali Post reports that the people of the traditional village of Tanjung Benoa have reacted in frustration to unanswered requests to the provincial government for permission to build a fish market in their community by unilaterally moving ahead with their plans to erect a fish market near their village.

Covering 2,600 square meters and costing Rp. 1.2 billion (US$107,150), the new fish market is now nearly 50% completed but lacks any of the required building permits and licenses.

The village head for Tanjung Benoa, Nyoman Wanaputra, told the press that letters to use the land had been sent to the fisheries department via the regional government of Badung in November 2007. Those letters were never dignified with an answer. Similarly, letters send in 2008 and 2009 to the fisheries department also remained unanswered preventing local government officials in Badung from issuing the needed permits to build a new local fish market.

Wanaputra defended the move to push ahead with the local fish market as necessary to protect village fishermen from middle-men who were manipulating fish prices in the sale of catches to local hotels. By owning their own marketplace, Tanjung Benoa fishermen hope to improve the profitability of family-owned fishing enterprises.

Drawing Lines in the Sand

Wanaputra blamed the unresponsive bureaucracy as leaving villagers no choice but to take definitive steps in defense of their own self interests. In what could be construed as a veiled threat to the regional government, Wanaputa said; "It's up to thee government if they want to sell or rent this land to the traditional village. What's clear, the people have been screaming for some time. If the government decides to demolish the new fish market, then let them try, they will have to face our citizens."