Odisha administration gears up for Olive Ridley sea turtle protection


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Thursday directed to ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules for Olive Ridley sea turtle protection during the current nesting season. 

Chief secretary Asit Tripathy chaired a meeting of the High Power Committee for Protection and Conservation of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles here.

Reviewing the steps taken so far in this direction, Tripathy directed the departments of Fishery, Forest and Marine police to operate in close coordination and ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules.

The Coast Guard was requested to have real-time intelligence sharing with the departments about any illegal fishing. The institutions like Interim Test Range, DRDO, Dhamara Port, Gopalpur Port, and Paradeep port authorities were requested to follow the black-out and light deeming practices to save the turtles from possible delusion.  

 Further, the Chief Secretary advised all concerned departments to take pride in sea turtle conservation and make it another modern identity of Odisha.

He said, “Since the Olive Ridley breeding in Odisha has a significant impact on the world population of these rare species, we must take pride in protecting it”.

Tripathy added it should be molded to a mass campaign through active people’s involvement so as to make brand it with Odisha.

 It was decided that the fishing ban would be in force from November 2019 to 31st May 2020. The compensation amount of Rs.7500/- would be given to around 8000 fishermen families who will bear a loss for the fishing ban.

The Chief Secretary directed the concerned departments not to cause unnecessary harassment to the small traditional fishermen without powerboats and catch hold of the real criminals who cause damage to the life of turtles.

PCCF Sandeep Tripathy apprised that fishing by the trawlers with 30 HP or more would be banned up to 20 kms inside the sea, particularly in the Olive congregation area and their buffer zones in three river mouths namely Dhamara, Devi and Rushikulya.

 Presenting the updates in the meeting, PCCF, Wildlife Hari Sankar Upadhya said, “There would be 66 offshore patrolling camps this year. Babubali, Agarnasi, Devinasi and Purunabandha, etc will be bases for seagoing petrol.  Four berthing places at Barunei, Gupti, Sanapeta and Krishnapriyapur will be set up for safe custody of seized vessels.

Conservation and protection activities will be carried on in coordination with the coast guard, naval wing, ITR, Fisheries & Animal Resource department, Police, various Port authorities, community-based organizations, and forest & environment department.” 

The meeting deliberated on Action Plan for 2019-20. It was decided that wide awareness activities would be undertaken for the purpose. A central monitoring unit would be set up in the office of the PCCF, Wildlife.

There would be circle level monitoring mechanisms under the direct supervision of Regional Conservator of Forests (RCCF), Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, and Baripada. They would coordinate with other law enforcing agencies and involve local NGOs in the activities.

Each patrolling camp would 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.  Collectors would depute magistrates to remain in charge of APR force placed at disposal of DFOs. The industries and ports along the coast were requested to comply with the lighting regulations. 

Sporadic nesting activities of the turtles and their mortality would be monitored through a web portal under the title manage.odishawildlife.org.  Soon after mass nesting, the rookeries would be fenced to protect the nests and eggs. 

Patrolling along with watch & ward activities would be further strengthened like previous years for Olive Ridley sea turtle protection.