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Odishatv Bureau

Kendrapara: In the latest crackdown on illegal sea fishing in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, forest personnel have taken into custody ten sea-going fishermen on the charge of violating enforced ban on such activity.

Two motorized boats used by the intruders for fishing along the prohibited sanctuary area were seized by the patrolling unit of the forest department near unmanned Babuballi Island.

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

The arrested fishermen were natives of fishing village of Kendrapara district, said officials.

The fishing vessel had trespassed into prohibited sanctuary corridors contravening the provisions of wildlife protection act, Orissa Marine fishing regulation act and mandatory rules of marine sanctuary.

They were forwarded to jail custody today under the section-27 & 29 of the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, said forest officials.

The crews of fishing vessels and marine fishermen communities have been warned not to venture into marine sanctuary area even though the turtle nesting season is over. It’s unlawful to fish in the marine sanctuary throughout the year. The seagoing fishermen and trawl-owners mostly thought that the ban remains enforced when turtles arrive for breeding and nesting. They have been sensitized on the restrictions imposed on human activities in the marine sanctuary, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Mr. Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

It’s pertinent to note here over six lakh turtles had arrived at the Nasi-2 nesting ground from 22 February to March 3, 2017 to lay eggs on the sandy beach. This was the third highest figure of mass-nesting otherwise described as ‘arribada’ (a Spanish term used for en masse laying eggs by turtle species) to have taken place in idyllic Gahirmatha Island.

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