A haven for turtles

Published: Saturday 15 November 1997

GAHIRAMATHA beach in Orissa which is the biggest nesting ground for Olive Ridley sea turtles in the world will be declared as a marine sanctuary. Last year, thousands of Olive Ridleys died while being caught in the gill nets of fishing trawlers when they neared the coast for their annual mass nesting. The limits of the sanctuary, ensconced within the Bhitarkanika National Park would extend from the south of Dhamra in Bhadrak district to 15 km north of Paradip port. With the area being declared a sanctuary, the authorities would be able to enforce provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and throw a protective net around the area.

The death of these turtles had caused concern among environmentalists. They warned if this trend persists, these turtles might abandon the area. The sources said that wildlife authorities would now move the fisheries department to enforce the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) in the fishing trawlers operating in the sanctuary. The TED would help the turtles to escape even if caught in the fishing nets of the trawlers.

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