Ban On Fishing To Save Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

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Bhubaneshwar: With the mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles’ fast approaching, a 7-month ban on fishing activity was clamped from Tuesday along the 20-km stretch of Dhamra-Rushikulya river mouth, affecting the livelihood of thousands of traditional marine fishermen.

The stretch, famous for the mass nesting of the endangered specie, falls within Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.

An estimated 26,000 traditional marine fishermen in coastal Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts are likely to be affected due to the ban order, which would remain effective from today to May 31.

The ban is clamped as per Sections 2, 7 and 4 of Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA), 1982 and provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

154 trawls and vessels were seized and 322 crew arrested during the ban clamped last time as vessels defied the OMFRA provisions and indulged in fishing along the prohibited zones, officials said.

“To ensure safety of the turtles, prohibitory orders are being strictly enforced. Trawl operators have been cautioned not to venture into prohibited zone. Any act of trespass would invite punitive measures”, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya said.

In view of the drop in marine fish catch and subsequent loss of avocation, the fishermen have been voicing their demand for the government to provide temporary permits for fishing activity on once-a-week basis.

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