about 3,000 olive ridleys have died in various parts of Orissa since November 2007. The casualty was especially high--1,437--along the Gahirmatha coast in Kendrapada. Activists allege the numbers are a gross underestimation. "There have been more than 10,000 casualties. The situation is alarming," says Biswajit Mohanty, coordinator of Operation Kachchap.
Officials admit to violations. S S Srivastava, chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said illegal fishing caused the deaths. This is in spite of a ban on mechanized fishing within 5 km of the shore throughout the state, fishing not allowed between November and May, and complete ban on fishing throughout the 1,435 sq km Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.
"Demarcating the sanctuary area is a problem. We used buoys but are not in a position to guard them," says Srivastava. The ban has led to much conflict between fisherfolk and officials, he adds.
|Ridley death count|
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