25 marine fishermen held from turtle zone

Kendrapara (Orissa), Feb 7 (PTI) A joint patrol squadarrested 25 intruding fishermen and seized two sea-worthyvessels in the latest crackdown on unlawful fishing activityon turtle congregation zones off Gahirmatha marine sanctuary,official sources said today.

The squad comprising forest, Coast Guard and fisheriespersonnel intercepted a couple of deep-sea fishing vesselsyesterday and took into custody 25 fishermen along the turtleconcentration water zones off prohibited Gahirmatha coast,said Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, divisional forest officer,Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division.

In the run up to annual �arribada� or mass-nesting ofOlive Ridley marine turtles, the crackdown conducted yesterdaywas aimed at protecting the marine species from trawlers.

Turtles often perish either getting entangled inmono-filament fishing nets in deep sea or getting hit bytrawls� propellers.

Since the imposition of trawling and fishingprohibition on November 1, 52 deep-sea trawlers and 129trespassers have been taken into custody.

Fishing implements, walkie-talkie system, navigationaltools were also seized from their possession, Mahapatra said.

Presently fishing and trawling operation along the 20km stretch Gahirmatha marine sanctuary limits is an offence.

The government has put brakes on fishing to ensure thesafety of Olive Ridley turtles, who make their annual visit tothis coast during this period of the year for mass-nesting.

"Cases of unlawful fishing activity have come downdrastically this year following stepped up patrol and vigil.

Coordination among various patrol teams from forest, police,fisheries department and the coast guard is on higher side.

"Mid-sea patrols are now better equipped to interceptintruding fishermen who often voyage with fleets of high-speedmotorized vessels," DFO Mahapatra said.

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