Kendrapara, Nov 27 (LocalWire): Marine fishermen demanded the demarcation of Gahiramatha marine sanctuary by placing bouys and provide a passage in the sea at Barunei river mouth within the Gahiramatha marine sanctuary to allow them to fish beyond it.
‘It is high time the authorities demarcate the sanctuary and allow fishermen to venture into the sea to fish beyond sanctuary areas.
The government has already imposed seven-month-long fishing ban from 1 November to 31 May to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.
Since there is no demarcation of the ‘No Fishing Zone’ in Gahiramatha, forest and coast guard officials have arrested 30 fishermen and seized four fishing vessels.
Last year, 832 fishermen were arrested and seized 102 fishing boats on charges of fishing in the marine sanctuary.
Many fishermen enter the sanctuary areas inadvertently as the waters are not demarcated,’ said Prasan Behera, the president of Odisha Traditional Fish Workers’ Union (OTFWU).
‘We also need a passage at Barunei river mouth as it is not possible for fishermen to enter the sea from the nearby fishing harbour in Paradip due to heavy siltation.
During low tide, boats hit the bottom, damaging the boats.
The problem is even worse when the boats return from the sea with catch.
For years, the harbor has not been de-silted, resulting in accumulation of sand and mud.
We should be allowed to use the nearby Barunei river mouth only for a passage to fish beyond 20 kilometers from the ‘No Fishing Zone’ of the marine sanctuary,’ added Behera.
Debashis Bhoi, the range officer of Gahiramatha marine sanctuary said, ‘Last year, we demarcated the marine sanctuary by putting 20 buoys but the fishermen illegally removed them.
Fishing vessels are equipped with GPS to know the banned areas.
Similarly, we cannot allow fishing vessels to enter the Barunei river mouth within the sanctuary.’
‘Due to the fishing ban imposed by the authorities, around 4.70 lakh turtles laid eggs from 26 February to 5 March 2019 at the Nasi 1 and Nasi 2 islands within the Gahiramatha marine sanctuary, added the forest officer.