A film on the customary marine law of the Aceh province of Indonesia has just been premiered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the the Marine and Fisheries Service of Indonesia (DKP), and the local fishers’ organization, Panglima Laot Aceh.
Featuring the famous Acehnese comic group, Eumpang Breuh, the launch event at the Ulee lheu fish landing site was attended by fishermen from Banda Aceh, representatives of FAO, DKP and Panglima Laot.
About 5,000 video copies of the film will be distributed free to coastal settlements in Aceh province, and another 5,000 copies will be given out as donation. FAO will also publicize the film through an interactive television talk show.
Titled “Peujroh Laot”, which means “save the sea”, the film focuses on the importance of Hukom Adat Laot (customary marine law) for a better future for Aceh’s coastal communities.
The Hukom Adat Laot, developed on the basis of Islamic law, comprises a system of marine laws, regulations and rights which regards the sea as a source of work and welfare. Unwritten rules are used to resolve conflicts between fishers over fishing rights, sharing incomes, and managing coastal resource.
The film is expected to raise awareness among coastal communities about the implementation of the law. It describes the daily problems faced by most of the fishermen in Aceh as they go about fishing and how their problems are solved by the Hukom Adat Laot through the sea court managed by the Panglima Laot or the “sea commander”.
At the premiere of the film, the FAO Co-Management Consultant, John Kurien, pointed out that most fishermen and coastal communities have forgotten the traditional law. Through this film, he hoped that they would gain better knowledge of the Hukom Adat Laot. This will contribute to the sustainability of fisheries’ resources, better livelihoods and dynamic fishing communities.
“The Peujroh Laot movie should be able to revitalize the Hukom Adat Laot, which has given Aceh’s coastal communities their sense of identity and rights over the coastal resources. We need to preserve the Adat Laot. We need to use it as the foundation for responsible use and stewardship of our coastal resources,” John Kurien added.
Adli Abdullah, the General Secretary of Panglima Laot, Aceh, said that at present many of those in the Panglima Laot, who are the custodians of the Adat Laot, do not have a good knowledge about the Peradilan Laot (sea court) mechanism and procedures. The situation has been further worsened by the fact that many Panglima Laot proponents lost their lives in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and those who took their places are not well versed with the customary practices. In the context of Panglima Laot and Hukom Adat Laot, the strengthening of customary mechanisms becomes more important.
John Kurien added: “I am happy that through the film FAO will try to preserve the Panglima Laot as an institution that furthers Hukom Adat Laot in fisheries development and management in Aceh. The film will be a great source of support for Aceh’s coastal communities in building up their livelihoods.”