Andhra fishermen sent to jail for poaching sharks in prohibited Odisha coast

Paradip: Seven fishermen, who were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Monday allegedly for fishing and poaching endangered species of sharks in the prohibited Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary area in Kendrapara district, were sent to judicial custody after court rejected their bail pleas today.

According to a release of the ICG, a patrolling team apprehended a trawler- IB Narasimhulu, which belongs to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh bearing registration number IND-AP-VI-MM-764, between Gahirmatha Bio Reserve and Paradip on Janaury 21.

During the search, the ICG officials seized more than 250 endangered sharks belonging to protected species of Bull Shark, Spot Tail Shark, Hammer Head Shark and others weighing around 70 quintal.

The trawler was later handed over to the forest department for further investigation, sources said.

Meanwhile, all the seven crew members including the master of the vessel have been sent to jail, added sources.

ICG DIG of Paradip, Rajesh Makwana, said, “Fishing is totally prohibited in the area. However, fishermen often violate this as fishes are found in abundance in the area. The ICG, forest and fishing department have been trying to create awarenesss among the fishermen community through various means but they should also understand that these fishes are significant part of our ecosystem and should be protected.”

“One of the primary reasons why illegal fishing is being carried out is that the shark fin soup is costly in foreign land. We are investigating more on this smuggling. Further probe is underway,” added the DIG.