Hundreds of dead Olive Ridley Turtles are getting washed ashore along the Krishna district coastline of Bay of Bengal after getting trapped in the nets of fishermen.
The 115-km coast of the district serves as an ideal nesting ground for turtles. The dead turtles can be found in large numbers between Gilakaladindi Harbour and Manginapudi.
Unfriendly fishing practices are posing a major threat to Olive Ridley Turtles, which are classified as ‘vulnerable’ according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Around 250 boats, including 150 small engine boats, are operating from Gilakaladindi harbour and not even 10 per cent of them are equipped with Turtle Excluder Device (TED), despite repeated appeals by the authorities.
The TED allows the turtle that get trapped in the fishing net to escape safely.
Appeals to use the TED is falling on deaf ears of boat operators, leading to sharp rise in death toll of turtles.
The Fisheries Department officials are not bothered about turtles and never insisted on use of TED by the boat operators, operating from Gilakaladindi harbour.
When asked about the number of boats equipped with TED, Harbour Fisheries Development Officer B. Raj Kumar told The Hindu that the department had no data and did not moot the issue with fishermen till date. Many boat operators said that they were releasing the turtles into sea when they were found in their nets.
The Wildlife Management Division, Eluru, in support of Yanadi tribal people set up four rookeries for the conservation of the turtles at Jinakapalem, Sangameswaram, Lighthouse area and Eelachetladibba, which is heart of the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary, in Krishna district.