Business expansion of shrimp farming in the coastal area of Lampung Province is expanding that it impacts on mangrove forest destruction. In fact, any policy regarding the opening of a new farming pond by changing the function of mangrove forest states that it would cause much greater social harm. More than 70 percent of mangrove forests in Lampung are badly damaged. From 160,000 HA of the original mangrove forest, more than 136,000 HA have been severely damaged. The remaining mangrove forest is estimated to be only 1,700 HA, but the condition of it is also critical.

According to the Executive Director of Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) Lampung, Mukri Friatna, the opening of new farming pond in Lampung keeps continuing, among of them are in the coastal area of Bakauheni (South Lampung) as well as in Padang Cermin (Pesawaran) and West Lampung area. Unfortunately, the opening of those farming pond is not known whether it has legal permission or not. It is surely contrary to the Law No. 27 year 2007 on the Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands, which the content of one of it mentions that the opening of the farms in coastal areas should obtain prior permission from local authorities.

Meanwhile, Head of Forestry Office of Lampung Province, Warsito said that over 50 percent of mangrove forests in Lampung Province are damaged. The destruction of mangrove forests in Lampung Province as well as in South Lampung District is increasingly in worrisome situation as more and more mangrove forests are turned into farming pond. The transformation of mangrove forests to farming pond would exacerbate the ecosystem and the preservation of marine biota that live and take shelter in the mangrove forests.

The changes in the function of mangrove forests into shrimp and fish farming pond becomes the major cause of the destruction of mangrove forests in coastal area of Lampung, such as in Tanggamus. In addition, the bankrupt shrimp farming pond will potentially become the nest for malaria mosquitos breeding and it has actually happened in coastal area of Lampung where the mangrove forests are severely damaged. Although the opening of an area for farming pond is allowed, at least it is done 500 meters from the beach and not in a conservation area.

The destruction of mangrove forests could increase the vulnerability of coastal communities on the risk of storms and high waves. Mangrove destruction will also lead to the decrease of marine biota that exists around the forests. If 1 HA of mangroves were damaged resulting in a reduction of 500 to 1000 kilograms of fish that live in the mangrove forests. Thus, the need for fish or the number of fish that is supposed to be utilized by the community will run out by itself. If the destruction of mangroves continues, the fish that live in the region will likely run out.

In response to the situation, socialization needs to be carried out to the community and farming businesses around coastal area of Lampung, especially South Lampung area, Pesawaran and West Lampung. Other than that, a discussion forum needs to be exercised as a platform for the community to express their aspirations and as a driver to the implementation of coastal zone management. The purpose of coastal zone management program is to socialize the law and constitution relating to fisheries, particularly Law No.27 Year 2007 on the Management of Coastal Area and Small Islands, to invite the community to participate in the management of coastal area, especially in efforts to improve the mangrove forest area in order to maintain its sustainability, to improve public and farming business’ awareness on the importance of good and environmentally friendly farming, to create a forum or platform where the community could discuss about fisheries and coastal management issues.

Writer: Ari Widodo (The winner of 2015 SDA Writing Competition)
Source: Forest Watch Indonesia

Dr. Ir. Dietriech G. Bengen, DEA. 2001. Prosiding Pelatihan Pengelolaan Wilayah Pesisir Terpadu. Bogor, 29 Oktober – 3 November 2001. Pusat Kajian Sumberdaya Pesisir dan Lautan Institut Pertanian Bogor. Bogor.