22 held for intruding into Gahirmatha marine sanctuary

Kendrapara: In a crackdown, 22 fishermen were taken into custody on charge of unlawful fishing activity along the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, a senior forest officer said today.

The fishing vessel, with 22 on board, had trespassed into prohibited sanctuary corridors flouting the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act and mandatory rules of marine sanctuary, and intercepted close to Nasi Island, the nesting ground of Olive Ridley sea turtles, Gahirmatha Forest Range Officer, Subrat Patra said.

The state government’s prohibition is in force in seawaters of the sanctuary to ensure the safety of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Though mass nesting of these marine species has already concluded last week, female turtles are still being sighted along the seawaters, he said adding there are reports of turtles sporadically laying eggs in nesting grounds.

The arrested crew of the fishing vessel were later remanded to jail custody under the section-27, 29 and 31 of the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, said forest officials.

An estimated 4.14 lakh female turtles had turned to dig pit and lay eggs on the nesting beach.