CM appeals for conservation of Olive turtles

The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought  for the conservation of Olive ridley  turtles along the Odisha coastthrough collective initiative “ Let us welcome #OliveRidley turtles as they arrive in large numbers for the annual arribada along# Odisha coast .

Urge everyone to make collective efforts to protect nesting habitats and conserve the endangered species”, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stated on Thursday in the twitter handle.

Around 1.50 lakh Olive Ridley turtles have so far turned up at the Gahirmatha beach for mass nesting that commenced last week. The beach, widely regarded as World’s largest rookery of Olive Ridley Sea turtles, had played host to 4.50 lakh turtles for mass nesting last year.

Gahirmatha beach off Bay of Bengal coast in Kendrapara district is incidentally acclaimed as World’s largest-known nesting ground of these animals . Apart from Gahirmatha, these threatened aquatic animals turn up at Rushikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth for mass nesting, otherwise called arribada.

It’s pertinent to note here that  Orissa High Court has recently 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.

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. “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.

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.