Olive Ridleys nesting;Fishing ban in Gahirmatha sanctuary

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Kendrapada, Oct 22 (UNI) Bhitarkanika forest officiala are contemplating to impose a seven months ban on fishign activities by the mechanised boats inside the Gahirmatha Marine sanctuary, the largest rookery of the endangered Olive Ridleys.

DFO of Rajnagar Mangrove forest(wildlife) Division P K Behera said the ban would be in force from November 1 to May 31,2009, under the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act,1982 and Orissa Marine Fishing Rules,1983, to protect the endangered Olive Ridley Sea turtles during the mating and nesting season.

The forest officials had sought the help from the Coast Guard Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) personnel of Wheeler island to step up surveillance in and around the inner and outer wheeler island in the Bay of Bengal during the nesting.

Olive Ridleys arrive in lakhs to the beaches of Gahirmatha Marine sanctuary for mass nesting twice every year with the approach of winter.

Mr Behera said a meeting of the DRDO personnel would be shortly convened to discuss the issues to ensure the safety of the marine species, protected under the migratory species convention and convention of international trade on wildlife flora and fauna.

The officials would request the DRDO to mask the defence lighting system installed at the Test Range at Wheeler Island towards the sea during the nesting season.

It had been decided to set up onshore and offshore camps under Gahirmatha marine sanctuary to protect the olive Ridley sea turtles and keep a strong vigil on the illegal entry of trawlers to the sanctuary during the ban period.

UNI XC-DP SJC/src1921

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