Greenpeace for effective patrolling to prevent turtle mortality

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 21 (UNI) Greenpeace, an NGO engaged in conservation of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles along the Orissa coast, today urged the state government to utilise central fund for an effective protection of the turtles.

The turtle mortality along the coast from Paradip to Chilka is on rise due to illegal fishing and till January last over 2,900 turtle carcasses were found along this stretch of the coast, Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Sanjeev Goel said in a statement here. He urged the state government to undertake effective patrolling to prevent illegal trawling and keep mechanised fishing out of turtle congregation areas.

Lakhs of Olive Ridley Turtles throng Orissa's coastline between November and May every year and thousands of them are killed each year by illegal fishing.

Mr Goel said earlier the state government officials had cited lack of funds as the reason for their inability to protect the species.

In 2007, the state government received from the Centre a sum of Rs 2 crores for turtle protection. The funds were disbursed in November 2007. The Fisheries Department has also acquired two patrol vessels to enforce the no-trawling zones and protect both turtles and traditional fishermen.

Illegal fishing and especially by mechanised trawlers has resulted in the death of large number of turtles over the last decade. Even as illegal fishing in the Devi river mouth area continues unabated, the situation in the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary remains unknown, with no independent verification of official figures available.

Mr Goel demanded that a joint effort on monitoring the mortality of turtles in collaboration with conservation groups and NGOs should be undertaken at the earliest.

UNI DP KK RN1852

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