Bhubaneswar: Odisha Thursday imposed a routine seven-month ban on fishing along the coastline in three of its districts as endangered turtles have started congregating in the sea for their annual mating, an official said.
The ban came into effect near the beaches of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi in the districts of Kendrapada, Ganjam and Puri, where the turtles are expected to come for their annual nesting in December.
No fishing activities will be allowed in the Bay of Bengal within 20 km of the coastline until May 31, Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Mohapatra told IANS.
Over half a million Olive Ridley turtles arrive and congregate in the shallow coastal waters of the state in October-November for mating and nest between December and March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.
The Gahirmatha located in the Bhitarkanika National Park is also known as one of the world’s largest turtle nesting sites.
Like tigers and elephants, Olive Ridley turtles are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Trapping, killing or selling of the species could result in a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment.
Despite several conservation measures, thousands of turtles get killed every year mainly after being hit by boats and trawlers that operate illegally.