Indonesia’s maritime ministry has designated Bali’s Benoa Bay a conservation zone for religious and cultural activities, and traditional and sustainable fisheries. The decision effectively kills a $2 billion plan to reclaim land in the mangrove-rich bay for a tourism development featuring hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and a convention center. While opponents of the development project have welcomed the decree, they say it’s only the first step toward ensuring that the bay receives full and permanent legal protection against such development plans. JAKARTA — Bali’s mangrove-rich Benoa Bay is now legally off-limits for any reclamation or development activities, following the government’s designation of the area as a maritime conservation zone. Spanning some 1,400 hectares (3,460 acres) in southern Bali, the bay was in 2014 rezoned from a conservation area to a public zone under a decree by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a move seen at the time as clearing a path for future reclamation and development. Indonesians in Bali and other cities have since opposed every proposed development project in the bay, especially an ambitious plan by PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional (TWBI), a property development unit of Indonesian tycoon Tomy Winata’s Artha Graha conglomerate. The developer proposed building artificial […]

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