Berhampur, Dec 21 (LocalWire) As many as 111 dead Olive ridley sea turtles have been recovered off Ganjam coast in the last one month, officials said on Friday.
Carcasses of the endangered sea species were washed ashore near Rushikulya river mouth, a major mass nesting site of the turtles.
“As many as 111 dead turtles, including 55 males and 56 females, have been recovered by forest officials from different places off Ganjam cost in last one month,” official sources said.
Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashish Kumar Behera said the turtles might be died in deep sea.
He, however, ruled out the possibilities of death due to illegal movement of mechanized fishing trawlers near Rushikulya river mouth.
“We have taken stringent action to restrict movement of mechanized trawlers near the cost. There was no report of movement of fishing trawlers in the no fishing zone, earmarked by the government in our region,” said the DFO.
The government has restricted fishing within a distance of 20 km in the coast from November 1 to May 31 as the turtles congregate at the coast for mating and nesting.
He said 12 turtle protection camps, including one off-shore camp at Purunabandh, have been set up off Ganjam coast for protection of the mating Olive Ridley turtles in the sea.
They have deployed two speed boats and two trawlers and a country-made boat near Markandi to prevent the entry of mechanized fishing trawlers from Andhra Pradesh side, he said.
Markandi is situated on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border.
“As mating of hundreds of turtles are seen in the sea, we hope the Olive Ridley turtles turn up in large number this time like the previous year,” said the DFO.
The mass nesting of the Olive Ridley is likely to take place in the third week of February.
The mass nesting of the Olive ridleys was witnessed here twice this year. In February, 4.45 lakh Olive Ridleys laid eggs, while around 37,000 turtles had laid eggs in the rookery in April, sources said.
Behera said the mass nesting site from Gokharakuda to Purunabandh is needed to be cleaned once again, as heaps of garbage have accumulated on the coastal stretch following the recent cyclonic storm Phethai.
‘We had cleaned the beach after Cyclone Titli, which hit the district in October. Again the garbage has accumulated on the beach,” he said.