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Indonesian fishers face livelihood threat from ‘beautiful’ tourism project by Agus Mawan July 27,2020   |  Source: Mongabay

On a breezy afternoon, fishermen are preparing to set sail from a beach on the western coast of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Not far off, two excavators dredge earth from the coast as part of land reclamation project for a municipal development.

For the past two years, the government of Majene district in West Sulawesi province has been developing the Waterfront City project on 18 hectares (44 acres) of land here. District head Fahmi Massiara has spoken of the need to turn the area into a modern coastal city featuring tourist attractions.

Environmentalists and fishers are largely opposed to the project, saying it will destroy the coastal ecosystem and deprive fishing households of their main source of livelihood.

“Many oppose, but are afraid to speak out. Afraid of being intimidated,” said Ridwan Tajuddin, 32, a fisherman from Cilallang, one of the villages that will be subsumed by the Waterfront City project.

Ridwan lives in a shack with his wife, two children, and the rest of his side of the family. From his door, he can see part of the reclaimed land. Ridwan is one of the fishermen who has been vocal in his public opposition to the project, even though others have warned him that his stance could lead to him losing access to government aid for low-income


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