Odisha puts fishing ban for mass nesting of Olive Ridley

Puri: The Forest department on Sunday imposed a seven-month fishing ban along Puri coast to protect endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles which come to the state beaches for mass nesting every winter.

The restriction, which was imposed as per Odisha Marine Fishing Act ( OMFA), will be in force till May 31, officials sources said.

The fishermen cannot use motor boats and trawlers for fishing within 5 km from the coast between Baliharchandi and Astarang in the district. Similarly, trawlers and motor boats are prohibited within 20km from the mouth of Devi river.

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“The fishing ban is imposed by the Fisheries department under Odisha Marine Fisheries Regulation Act (OMFRA) in which there would be no mechanised trawler fishing up to five km from the sea coast. However, in case of Devi river mouth, there will be no fishing up to 20 km from the coast,” said Chitta Ranjan Mishra, DFO, Puri.

He further said the Forest department would organise several camps to step up its campaign to make the people, especially the fishermen community, residing in the periphery area, aware of the Ridley turtle nesting.

“If the fishermen violate the ban order, we would seize their boats and take necessary action against them”, he added.

The Forest department has set up on-shore camp at 13 places including Devi mouth, Devinasi, Devi river island, Daluakani, Chandrabhaga and Ramachandi for protection of the endangered species. Besides, off-shore camp has also been put in place at Devi mouth.

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Similarly, four temporary incubation centres have been set up at Devinasi, Jahania, Kandarpur and Chandrabhaga to keep the eggs for safe hatching.

Over half a million Olive Ridley turtles arrive and congregate in the shallow coastal water of the Bay of Bengal in November and climb ashore for nesting between December and March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.

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