By Kshirabdhi Tanaya
The Coast Guard has deployed a ship in the Odisha coast under Operation Olivia with an aim to prevent the poaching of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles in the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, said Coast Guard DIG KPS Raghuvanshi.
The Coast Guard ship would work with the vessels of the Forest Department, the Fisheries Department and Marine Police boats to ward off the endangered species by preventing movement of illegal fishing trawlers. According to Raghabanshi, the Coast Guard ships come to Odisha coast every year with a view to protect the turtles. During this operation, both the Coast Guard ships and aircrafts are deployed from November to May, he informed. The Coast Guard is the nodal agency for protecting the environment in country’s coastal areas.
Each year, during the breeding season of these turtles, the Coast Guard carries out such operations to protect the marine species from poachers. Most of the turtles die a horrid death, trapped in the nylon nets of trawlers fishing along the coast.
Due to effective patrolling of Coast Guard with the Forest department, this year, the movements of trawlers and turtle carcasses have been reduced at Gahirmatha, said sources. “At least 16,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles were killed in 1998 off the Odisha coast. Jolted by the unprecedented toll, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had finalised the blueprint for a massive operation in 1999 to save the marine species in a new conservation plan,” added the DIG.
Even, the Indian Coast Guard has opened a center in Gopalpur in Ganjam district since November 1, 2012 to monitor the 484 km coastline of the State to curb down influx of infiltrators, terrorist activities via sea route along with protecting the marine turtles.
The Coast Guard deployed two ships Razia Sultana and Sarojini Naidu with modern equipment to guard the sea water in Odisha.