Kendrapara, India — Unlawful marine fishing activities have been continuing in prohibited area off Gahirmatha in Kendrapara district despite crackdown and vigil maintained by forest officials, police and the coast guard.
In a series of mid-sea crackdowns, over 50 crew of a dozen deep-sea trawlers had been intercepted off Gahirmatha coast for unlawful fishing within the prohibited marine santuary since impositon of the ban on November one, sources said.
The fishing prohibition would remain in force till May 31 for the safe annual sojourn of Olive Ridley turtles.
Though intensified vigil has brought down the cases of trawler intrusion, marine fishermen from Balasore and Bhadrak districts were continuing their activities, they said.
"Besides, trawlers from neighbouring West Bengal have been illegally entering Gahirmatha largely because the crew are unaware of the prohibitory orders," said a forest official engaged in patrol duty.
As intruders mostly navigated on high-speed motorised trawlers, the less-improvised patrol vessels were no match to intercept them. That was why they were getting away without being caught, the official said.
At present the operation to stop unlawful fishing to ensure the safety of Olive Ridley turtles is being jointly conducted by coast guard, police and officials of the forest and fisheries department after the marine animals began their annual breeding season earlier this month.
The state government has clamped a ban along the 20-km stretch of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary from November 1 in view of the mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley marine turtles.