Kendrapara, Feb 1 (LocalWire): Around 1200 carcasses of Olive Ridley sea turtles were washed ashore recently at the Gahiramatha Beach, the world’s largest rookery of the sea turtles, and its nearby areas.
Hemant Rout, the secretary of Gahiramatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society (GMTMCS), said, “We found the carcasses of 1200 turtles on the stretch between Sialia to Nasi beach during our recent survey.
The turtles died after getting entangled in fishing nets.”
Rout added that fishing is prohibited beyond 20 kilometers from the coast in the marine sanctuary.
These turtles have died as a result of illegal fishing being done in the area.
Rout also informed LocalWire that nearly 1.75 lakh turtles have died over the past 18 years which will adversely affect the population of endangered marine species.
The risk to turtles can be reduced by equipping trawlers with a Turtle Excluder Device(TED) which allows the entangled turtles to escape while caught fish are retained.
While the concept of enforcing legislation to use TED in trawler nets is not even remotely in sight, the government is planning to construct a riverine port at Akhadasali at the Mahanadi river near the Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary.
The proposed ports will increase the flow of traffic and further aggravate the threat to the sea turtles.
Earlier, the state government had imposed a ban on fishing activities inside the Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary around 20 km off the shore from 1st November 2019 to 31st May 2020 to protect turtles.
Forest officials have already arrested around 350 fishermen and seized 50 fishing vessels on the charges of illegally fishing in Gahiramatha till date.
Edited by Meenal Singh