Administration on toes as mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles begins
Kendrapara/Puri: It is now testing time for authorities as the mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley turtles has begun at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara and Astaranga in Puri district.
Hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles are now thronging the two prominent locations in Odisha to lay eggs. This has prompted officials of the forest department to keep a vigil so as to protect the species.
Official sources informed that the forest department has deployed 34 officials and engaged speed boats to guard the turtles at Gahirmatha. Despite this, Olive Ridley turtles continue to fall prey to fishing trawlers which has now emerged as a major concern.
“Even if the forest department along with officials of fisheries department and coast guards are taking steps to safeguard the sea animals, a completely check on the movement of trawlers has not been possible,” alleged Jagannath Dash, an environmentalist from Kendrapara.
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The forest department has to act tough on illegal fishing activity. The environment ministry should also bring law that will tighten the noose on the trawler owners, Dash added.
“As the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary is home to many sea animals including Olive Ridley turtles, officials are deployed throughout to ensure their safety. Patrolling teams have been deployed along Babubali and Agarnasi sea stretch. Besides, 14 camps have been set up for beach profiling and collection of data regarding the death of the turtles,” informed Rajnagar DFO, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
Similarly, special arrangements have been made by the Puri district administration in Puri to ensure safety of the Olive Ridley turtles. Already a ban on fishing by motorised vessels and trawlers has been imposed from November 1.
“The ban has been enforced on fishing by motorised boats and trawlers within 20 km radius. Special teams have been formed to collect the eggs of the turtles. Action will be taken against the violators as per the provision of Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA), 1982,” informed Subash Nayak, a forest officer of Astaranga.