Eight fishermen taken into custody in Odisha

Kendrapara: Forest personnel have taken into custody eight fishermen in a mid-sea interception of unlawful fishing activity along the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara district.

Three fishing trawls used by the intruders for fishing along the prohibited marine sanctuary area were also seized by the patrolling unit engaged by forest department near unmanned Babuballi island yesterday, a forest official said.

Prohibition on sea fishing remains enforced round the year within marine sanctuary limits. However, sea patrolling is stepped up within Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary water territory during September-May every year in view of annual mass nesting season of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The arrested fishermen are from Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, the official said.

The fishing vessels had trespassed into the prohibited sanctuary corridors violating provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act and mandatory rules of marine sanctuary.

Earlier 167 fishing trawls were seized from Gahirmatha area during turtle nesting season (September 1-May 31) and 348 fishermen were taken into custody.

The crew of fishing vessels and marine fishermen have been warned not to venture into marine sanctuary area even though the turtle nesting season is over.It is unlawful to fish in the marine sanctuary throughout the year, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

Seagoing fishermen and trawl-owners mostly think that the ban remains enforced when turtles arrive for breeding and nesting. They have been sensitised on the restrictions imposed on human activities in the marine sanctuary, he said.