In an attempt to save endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles in the Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapada district of Odisha, the forest department has announced seven-month fishing ban starting Tuesday, November 1 to May 31.
The Forest range officer of Gahiramatha marine sanctuary Subrat Patra expressed concern on the matter of sea turtles and believes this ban to be a step in the safety of the endangered species.
“This is going to be a major relief for the sea turtles. Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary is a prime feeding area for the sea turtles, who nest all the way up to Nasi 1 and Nasi-2 within Gahiramath beach, and other areas. Trawlers and boatmen have been directed not to fish within 20 km from coastline in the marine sanctuary covering 1,435 sqkm from Agaranasi to Dhamra,” he said in a report of The New Indian Express.
It has also been announced that forest officials have already deployed forest guards to arrest the fishermen, who will dare to enter the marine sanctuary during the ban period of seven-months. In 1997, the government had declared Gahiramatha a marine sanctuary to protect the marine turtles as they come in lakhs for laying eggs.
While explaining the ban duration, he informed that turtles will arrive in November for mating on sea water. And later the female species will lay eggs in March. “We have established 15 turtle protection camps, including three offshore camps at Agaranashi, Barunei and Babubali islands, to protect turtles. Cops of marine police stations at Kharinashi and Paradip and coast guards will help the forest staff prevent illegal fishing,” he added in a report.
According to the reports of last year, the forest officials had arrested 240 fishermen and seized 45 boats and trawlers in Gahiramatha for fishing illegally in Gahiramatha. It was recorded last year that due to the fishing ban, 52,000 turtles laid eggs from March 12 to 19 last year at the Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands within the sanctuary.