Bhubaneswar: The State Government has imposed a seven-month ban on fishing along the coast to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles as they arrive during winter for nesting.
The ban will be in force from November 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.
The Olive Ridley turtles arrive every year during winter for mass nesting at the Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district and the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapada. They would arrive for mating on the coast and lay eggs in March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.
The Forest Department imposed the restriction on Wednesday to ensure that the fishermen don’t fish within 20 km off the coastline in the turtle nesting sites.
“We have imposed a restriction on fishing in Gahiramatha marine sanctuary and Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, which are prime feeding areas for sea turtles. Trawlers and boats have been directed not to float within 20 km off the coastline in the area,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy.
Odisha has three nesting sites, Gahirmatha, Devi river mouth in Puri district and Rushikulya river mouth. The Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary is one of the world’s largest turtle nesting sites.
Tripathy said around 9.75 lakh Olive Ridley had emerged from the sea to lay eggs along the Odisha coast during 2016-17.