Six fishermen arrested

Kendrapara: Six fishermen were on Wednesday taken into custody from prohibited Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary limits off the Bay of Bengal coast when they were illegally fishing along the prohibited coastal water territory.

The operation to stop illegal fishing to ensure the safety of Olive Ridley turtles is being jointly conducted by coast guard, forest, police and fisheries department after the marine animals began their annual breeding season earlier this month.

The turtle surveillance patrol spotted the vessel near Chnichiri Island off Gahirmatha coast. They surrendered without offering any form of resistance, Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, said.

The trawler used for illegal fishing besides net and fishing implements were seized from them. The arrested offenders were Bengali-speaking settlers from seaside Kharinasi village of Kendrapara district. The fishermen were later forwarded to jail custody after a local court rejected their bail application, the DFO said.

Since the 1 November ban on trawler operation within the marine sanctuary limits, this is the second interception of intruding fishing vessel. Last week, seven fishermen had been taken into custody on similar charge.

The state government had imposed a ban on fishing trawlers along the 20 km stretch Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in view of the ensuing mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley marine turtles.