BERHAMPUR, India — Alarmed over increasing deaths of Olive Ridley turtles, forest authorities are trying to spread awareness among fishermen to ensure safety of the endangered marine species ahead of their nesting along Ganjam coast.
Awareness among marine fishermen is necessary as most of the deaths are caused by plying of fishing trawlers, experts said. "We urged them to refrain from illegal fishing in the sea," said S S Mishra, divisional forest officer, Berhampur.
Every year, lakhs of Olive Ridleys visit Gokharkuda-Purunabandh area near River Rushikulya for mass nesting. Over one lakh marine species visited the site in 2011-12. Olive Ridleys also visit Gahiramatha beach in Kendrapada district and the mouth of River Devi in Puri district.
Official sources said while 127 turtles were found dead along the Ganjam coast in 2011-12, 108 and 90 deaths were recorded in 2010-11 and 2009-10, respectively. Unofficial sources, however, give higher numbers of deaths.
Since most of the deaths were reported from bordering areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, forest officials have decided to screen documentaries in these parts from the first week of November, said Mishra. Surveillance measures will be taken in the coastal areas jointly by the forest and the fisheries and animal resources development departments to check illegal fishing by mechanized boats and trawlers, he added.
The government imposes a seven-month ban on fishing along the 170-km coastal region from November 1 to May 31 to protect the turtles. Notification in this regard is likely to be issued by the department of fisheries and animal resources development on Wednesday, a senior officer said.