Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today decided to impose a ban on fishing by motorized vessels and trawlers in areas, where Olive Ridley turtles congregated, from November 1, 2021 to May 2022.
During a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra the Action Plan for 2021-22 was discussed at Bhubaneswar today. Fishing by the motorized vessels, trawlers and mechanized techniques will be banned within 20 kms from the specified coast of the sea comprising sea turtle congregation area and their buffer zones in three river mouths namely Dhamara river mouth, Devi river mouth and Rusikulya river mouth.
The regional conservator of forests would monitor the operations in their respective jurisdiction in close coordination of district administration, police and other concerned departments. One central monitoring unit will be set up in office of the Chief Wildlife Warden.
Experts in the State High Power Committee on conservation of Olive Ridley stated Odisha model in preservation and growth of Olive Ridley sea turtles under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has proved as the best practice.
The scientists like K. Sivkumar of Wild life Institute of India and Priyambada Mohanty ( Hejmadi) said, “Odisha has contributed significantly towards preservation and growth of this endangered species. Odisha model for conservation of the species has been applauded in international forums”.
Chief Secretary Mahapatra directed the departments of forest and environment, fisheries and animal resource development, police, marine police, coast guard and port authorities on Odisha coast to have concerted efforts at the ground level in conservation and nurturing of the Olive Ridley as a precious treasure of the nature. He said, “As we have earned more experience and State is investing large amount of money for the purpose, we must deliver best in saving this species for the world community.”
Mahapatra also directed to ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules along the nesting coasts. The Coast Guard was requested to have real time intelligence sharing with the departments about any illegal fishing. The institutions like DRDO, Dhamara Port, Gopalpur Port and Paradeep port authorities were requested to follow the black-out practices and light deeming to save turtles from possible delusion. They were asked to provide necessary support for joint patrolling in the sea and berthing of the vessels.
There would be circle level monitoring mechanisms under the direct supervision of Regional Conservator of Forests (RCCF), Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Baripada. Berthing places would be set up at Barunei, Gupti, Sasanapeta and Krushnapriyapur and Rajnagar for safe custody of the seized vessels.
A total number of 66 patrolling camp sites including 61 on-shores and 5 off-shore camps would be operate round the clock. Each camp would be provided with VHF communication devices, mobile phones and required camping materials. There would be regular communication and intelligence sharing among coast guard, patrolling ship, and various camps and marine police.
Armed police force would be deployed for patrolling and enforcement activities. Sporadic nesting activities of the turtles and their mortality would be monitored through a web portal under the title ‘manage.odishawildlife.org’. Soon after mass nesting, the rookeries would be fenced to protect the nests and eggs. Patrolling along with watch and ward activities would be strengthened further.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest and Environment Mona Sharma appraised that “four wildlife divisions of the State namely Bhadrak, Rajnagar, Puri and Berhampur are in readiness for conservation operations this year. These divisions have been equipped with five numbers of high speed boats, along with 13 trawlers and support boats for chasing the illegal activities in the sea.
PCCF Wildlife Sashi Paul appraised that last year around 3.5 lakh turtles laid eggs in Gahiramatha coast. Thirty eight trawlers were seized and 202 persons were arrested. Mass nesting took place at Gahiramatha between March 10 to 24.
The Secretary Fisheries and Animal Resource Development R. Raghu Prasad said, “In the meanwhile a mobile app has been developed for the fishermen and the officers at the ground level. The fisherman can see the no fishing zone in the app itself. They will also get an alert message when they enter to the no fishing area.” Chief Secretary Mahapatra directed all officers engaged in the conservation operation to download the app for asserting location of the fishing boats.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Mona Sharma, PCCF Head Sisir Kumar Ratho, PCCF Wild Life Sashi Paul, Expert Member Priyambada Mohanty ( Hejmadi), Coast Guard Commandant, Director wild life Institute, Deheradun, along with senior officers from concerned departments, DRDO, Paradeep, Dhamara Paradeep and Gopalpur ports participated in discussions.