Coastal degradation due to shrimp farming in Java, Indonesia

The booming of tiger shrimp’s price on the international market in 80’s had triggered people living in coastal areas to massively cleare mangrove forests and converted them into shrimp ponds. This happened throughout Indonesia, including Pemalang district (central Java Province) and Banten Bay (Banten Province). Unfortunately, this aquaculture practice was tragically failed following a white spot pandemic. Since then, almost all of pond areas in both sites were abandoned, leaving serious problems to coastal ecosystem, health, livelihood, and food security.

Increased coastal vulnerability

Undeniable that coastal degradation (due to massive pond conversion) had significantly led to increased coastal vulnerability to hazardous threats from the sea, such as strong winds, tidal floods, intrusion and abrasion.

Health risks from intrusion  

A biophysics assessment led by Wetlands International Indonesia Programme (WIIP) confirmed that intrusion has reached 4 km (from coastline) in Banten Bay and Pemalang. A statistic report, furthermore, reported such conditions also have negatively impacted the health of local people. This silent disaster has also forced local people in both sites to allocate their money to fulfilling their clean water needs.

Poverty

At the “grass root” level, the poverty of local communities is serious problem. Landlessness and lack of working capital are two classic conditions found in both sites. Ironically, their access to governmental support is limited.

Lack of awareness

Lack of awareness posed by local community and local government is another serious problem our work faces. Even in certain case, it has driven local government to recklessly develop regional planning, in which merely based on the spirit to get income from development projects in coastal area. In Banten Bay, local government even has listed a number of infrastructure constructions in this bay as prioritised program.

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Preparing the abandoned pond for restoration activities