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Enforce Prohibition on Fishing Around Turtle Nesting Sites, HC Tells Odisha

Enforce Prohibition on Fishing Around Turtle Nesting Sites, HC Tells Odisha

An olive ridley sea turtle. Photo: Pinku Halder/Wikimedia Commons

Cuttack: The Orissa high court has directed the state government to enforce a prohibition on fishing activities by trawlers near the mouth of Devi river and along the coast to protect olive ridley turtles.

Based on a report submitted by a committee appointed by the high court, a division bench headed by chief justice S Muralidhar on Tuesday observed that there is incidental killing of turtles due to “suffocation in fishing nets of trawlers or by injuries inflicted by the propellers of the trawlers”.

The court directed the government to enforce the fishing ban with the help of local marine police stations and to seek cooperation of the Centre to engage the coast guard for the purpose.

The state fisheries and animal resources development department had issued a notification in November 2014, prohibiting fishing activities by trawlers in the protected area under the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.

Despite the ban, fishing activities by trawlers in these areas continue.

Also read: Olive Ridleys Day-Nest in Odisha After Seven Years, but ‘No Link to Lockdown’

“The turtle nesting beach of Gahirmatha should be fenced to protect the turtles from predators,” the court said, adding that no-fishing zones should also be demarcated.

The state government should initiate discussions with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the feasibility of installing transponders in all the mechanised fishing vessels to track their movement in the sea, it said.

The state government was asked to submit a report on the implementation of the court’s directions before the next hearing on the matter on April 29.

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