Nellore, India — Efforts are on to create awareness among fishermen on the need to protect sea turtles to improve the wealth of the ocean.
Workshops are being conducted in association with NGOs to train fishermen in the protection of endangered Olive Ridley turtles. Principal chief Conservator of forests, A.V. Joseph, revealed this during a workshop here on Thursday. He said that forest department and the fisheries departments have been coordinating to conduct awareness programmes along with NGOs.
Speaking on the occasion, district collector, B. Sreedhar said that hatcheries for the turtles have been established in the coastal areas in Kodavalur, Vidavalur, Allur and Indukurpeta mandals. He advised forest officials to enlighten the fishermen about the need to safeguard turtles.
Nellore SP, B.V. Ramana Kumar pointed to the danger of extinction of turtles if measures are not taken for their conservation.
Referring to three marine police stations functioning in the coastal area of SPSR Nellore district with manpower of 75 policemen, he told the forest officials to make use of their services whenever necessary.
District Forest Officer, N. Nageswar Rao exhorted the steps being taken to protect Olive Ridley turtles in association with a Chennai-based NGO, Tree Foundation.
According to the DFO, nesting season of turtles starts from December and extends up to May every year. Fishermen’s help is being taken to pickup the eggs of turtles from natural nests from the coast and keep them in the hatcheries located close to the coast. They are being released into the sea after the hatching process.
Mr. Nageswar Rao said that nearly 999 baby turtles become food for fish out of 1,000 released into the sea. He said that the volume of fish in the ocean would increase by multifold if turtles are protected and this point is being specifically told to fishermen during awareness programmes.
Chairperson of Tree Foundation, Dr. Supraja Dharani dwelt at length on the need to protect turtles. A documentary on the subject was screened on the occasion. Commandant of Marine Coastguard, C.R.K. Rao was also present in the workshop.