Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday imposed a seven-month ban on fishing along the coast to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles as they arrive during winter for nesting.

The ban will be in force from November 1 to May 31, 2018.

The endangered Olive Ridley turtles arrive every year during winter for mass nesting in Rushikulya river mouth and Gahirmatha marine sanctuary. They will arrive for mating on the coast and lay eggs in March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.

The forest department has imposed the restriction to ensure that the fishermen don't fish within 20 km off the coastline in the turtle nesting sites.

"We have imposed a restriction on fishing in Gahiramatha marine sanctuary and Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, which are prime feeding areas for sea turtles. Trawlers and boats have been directed not to float within 20 km off the coastline in the area," said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy.

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The state has three nesting sites -- Gahirmatha beach in Kendrapada district, Devi river mouth in Puri district and Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district. The Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary is one of the world's largest turtle nesting sites.

Tripathy said around 9.75 lakh Olive Ridley emerged from the sea to lay eggs along the Odisha coast during 2016-17.