Safety of Olive Ridley turtles: Orissa HC asks both Central & State governments to file affidavit

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Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday asked Central & State governments to file an affidavit regarding the suo motu case on the safety of Olive Ridley turtles.

The next hearing is set to be held on September 21.

Notably, the Registrar (Judicial) suo motu registered the PIL on the basis of a media report on the large number of Olive Ridleys’ death since January.

The action followed a Feburary 4 report on Down to Earth saying 800 Olive Ridley turtles have died since January 2021 due to negligence of the state’s forest and fisheries department. The court took suo motu cognisance of the report on February 23 and registered a case.

The Garhimatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara district is the world’s largest rookey of sea turtles.

The rookery  at Gahirmatha was declared a marine sanctuary in 1997 by the State government. It imposed a ban order on fishing activities inside the sanctuary, around 20 km off the shore from November 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021

The fishing trawlers are supposed to fish beyond 20 km from the coast in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, according to the Odisha Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982. But, they fish near the shore in violation of the law. As a result, turtles die after getting trapped in fishing nets or hit by trawlers.The carcasses of turtles are also driving away tourists from the Siali, Satabhaya, Pentha and Paradip beaches in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts due to the stench, much to the resentment of local shopkeepers and hotel owners.

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