Thousands of turtle carcasses found along Puri coast

Puri: Environmentalists have expressed grave concern over the large scale death of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles along the Odisha coast.

While the Forest department has not taken any steps in this regard, the environmentalists have alleged that the fishing trawlers are responsible for the mass death of these Ridley turtles.

“There is a need to investigate the death of the Olive Ridley turtles whose carcasses have been lying from Chandrabhaga river mouth to Ramachandi river mouth,” said environmentalist Ramakrushna Mohanty.

He also said despite the ban order, rampant fishing has been going on by the fishing trawlers in the prohibited areas.

Thousands of turtle carcasses have been found in their nesting sites along the Devi, Ramachandi-Kushabhadra and Baliharchandi river mouths in Puri district in the recent past.

As per the Odisha Marine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA), there is a ban on fishing by trawlers within 20 km of the Devi river mouth and 5 km from the remaining river mouth in the district during the nesting season of the Ridley turtles from November to April every year. But considering the massive deaths of these turtles, it seems that the ban order of the Forest department has remained only on paper.

While the number of eggs laid by Olive Ridley turtles has come down drastically in the recent past, there has been an alarming rise in the death of these endangered species along the Puri coast.

The Forest department had collected 94,494 Olive Ridley eggs from 774 nesting places last year. However, only 16,772 eggs have been collected from 151 nesting places by the end of February this year. On the other hand, while 3181 Ridley turtles had died last year, the number of death this year has already gone up to 3855.

Talking to OTV, Puri DFO Chittaranjan Mishra said the Forest department expects to collect more eggs compared to last year. “It depends on the number of Ridley turtles that come to this area every year for mass nesting,” he said.

On the large scale death of the Ridley turtles, he said there might be some disturbances in the deep sea. “We have found the carcasses of 3-4 whales and dolphins along the Odisha coast in the last couple of months which shows that there might be some ecological imbalance in the deep sea resulting in the death of these species,” he pointed out.