Berhampur, November 26 (LocalWire): With the endangered Olive Ridley turtles starting to arrive in the sea for their mass nesting near the mouth of river Rushikuly, the forest, marine police, and fishery officials have intensified the joint patrolling off Ganjam cost to ensure their safety.
The Rushikulya mouth is considered as the second biggest rookery for the Olive Ridley sea turtles after Gahiramatha in Kendrapada district.
“During the patrolling in the sea, we have sighted several Olive Ridley sea turtles near Gokharakuda,” Khallikote range officer Dilip Kumar Martha said, adding that the patrolling groups have also sighted matting of them in deep-sea four days ago in isolated places.
The mating of the visiting sea creatures is expected to pick up in the next month on a large scale.
After the mating, the female turtles will climb ashore for mass nesting during the last week of February or the first week of March, he stated.
“As the Olive Ridley sea turtles started to arrive in the sea for mating, we have intensified patrolling to prevent mechanized fishing and use of ring-nets,” he said.
According to the officer, two trawlers and two speedboats have been pressed into service for patrolling in the sea, which is supported by the marine police and fishery officials.
“At least six camps have been set up to oversee the safety of the turtles.
Two forest personnel engaged in each camp,” he stated, adding that they have found one carcass of Olive Riddle in the area during the last one month.
It may be recalled that the state government has banned fishing along its coast for seven months to protect and conserve the endangered sea turtles.
The ban has been enforced from 1 November 2019 to 31 May next year, sources said.
Lakhs of Olive Ridley have been visiting the Gokharkuda-Purunabandh area near Rushikulya river mouth every year for mass nesting for the last several years, though the mass nesting did not happen in the rookery last year.
Wildlife activists, however, expected that a record number of Olive Ridley sea turtles might lay eggs this time in the rookery.
“Generally they take a break in every four to five years gap. After the gap year, they visit in a large number for nesting,” Rabindra Sahu of Ganjam district Sea Turtle Protection Committee, said.
Meanwhile, forest officials have been organising meetings in the nearby villages to create awareness for the safety of the turtles.
More meetings would also be held among the villagers to help with alternate livelihood projects for them, he added.