Ban on fishing in Bhitarkanika from next week

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Kendrapada, Oct 23 (UNI) With the approach of the mating and breeding season of endangered Olive Ridleys sea turtle, the Bhitarkanika Forest officials have decided to impose ban on fishing activities inside the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary from November one.

The ban will be in force from November 1 to May 31 next to ensure a trouble free mating and breading season for the Olive Ridley turtles which come in lakhs to the Orissa coasty every year for mass nesting.

The Bhitarkanika Forest officials have sought the help from Coast Guards and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) personnel of Wheeler island to step up surveillance in and around in the Bay of Bengal close to the island during the nesting season.

Soon a meeting would be held with the DRDO officials to ensure the safety of the Olive Ridleys turtles, protected under the migratory species convention and convention of international trade on wildlife flora and fauna, sources said.

The DRDO had been advised to put mask on its lighting system in the wheeler island during the mass nesting phenomenon as a protective measure.

The forest officials would set up 12 onshore and three offshore camps under Gahirmatha marine sanctuary this year to protect the sea turtles and keep a watch on the illegal entry of trawlers into the sanctuary during the ban period.

Beside Gahirmatha, the turtles visit every year to Rushikulya and Devi river mouths in large numbers for mass nesting.

But the Gahirmatha beach is considered as the world's largest rookeries of the Olive Ridleys.

Experts opined that the tranquil beach of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary is considered to be the most congenial habitat for the mass nesting phenomenon of the marine species.

UNI

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