Odisha prepares action plan for conservation of Olive Ridley turtles


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has finalized an action plan for protection and conservation of Olive Ridley turtles during the current nesting season.

The action plan for 2016-17 for protection and conservation of Olive Ridley turtles was discussed and finalized at the high power committee chaired by chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here, said an official on Saturday.

Reviewing the conservation activities, the chief secretary directed the departments of Fishery, Forest, and Marine police to operate in close coordination and ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules.

He also advised the concerned departments not to harass the traditional fishermen unnecessarily during the ban period.

The government banned fishing along its coast for the next seven months to protect the Olive Ridley turtles who arrive every year during winter for mass nesting along the Odisha sea coast. The ban will be in force from November 1 to May 31 next year.

The state has three nesting sites — Gahirmatha beach in Kendrapada district, Devi river mouth in Puri district, and Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district.

While the coast guard was requested to have real-time intelligence sharing with the departments about any illegal fishing, Dhamara, Gopalpur  and Paradeep port trusts were requested to provide vessels for patrolling in their respective coasts, said the official.

“This year two high-speed boats have been procured for patrolling along the coast. These boats can run 30 km per hour and can catch any illegal fishing in the sea,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sidhant Das said.

Das further said that during the current nesting season, a total number of  59 camps both onshore and off-shore would be installed at different places along the coast for detection of illegal fishing.

“We would take the cooperation of the local NGOs, community-based organizations and traditional fishermen. Fisheries and Animal Resource department were requested to regulate fishing activities for traditional fishermen as per the existing rules”, added Das.

All India Radio was requested to spread messages for public awareness, he added.

A central monitoring unit has been set up in the office of the PCCF, Wildlife. There would be circle level monitoring under the direct supervision of Regional Conservator of Forests (RCCF), Berhampur and Baripada. They would coordinate with other law enforcing agencies and involve local NGOs in the activities.

The sea patrolling would be launched from various bases near Babubali, Agarnasi, new Devi Nasi island, Purunabandha etc. Each of the 59 camps will be provided with VHF communication devices, mobile phones, and required camping materials.

There would be regular communication and intelligence sharing among coast guard, patrolling ship, and various camps and marine police. APR force would be deployed for patrolling and enforcement activities.

The industries and ports along the coast were requested to comply with the lighting regulations. A web portal under the title ‘manage.odishawildlife.org’ has already been developed for monitoring of sporadic nesting and mortality of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

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