Posted by: The ocean update | December 31, 2015

Forest officials arrest 135 people for ‘illegal fishing’ as 500 endangered turtles die in Gahirmatha (India)

The_deaths_of_the_500_Olive_Ridley_turtles_are_being_linked_to_fishing_netsDecember 31st, 2015 (Rakesh Dixit). The carcasses of more than 500 endangered Olive Ridley turtles have been spotted on the beaches of Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapada district.

“The carcasses were found scattered over 40km of the sanctuary area. The deaths might have been caused by gill nets and trawler propellers,” said forest officials, who have stepped up patrolling in the sanctuary.

Though a seven-month fishing ban in the sanctuary has been clamped by the authorities keeping the breeding season of turtles in mind, violations are frequent.

Forest officials have so far seized 25 fishing vessels and arrested 135 fishermen for illegal fishing in the area.

“Fishing ban in Gahirmatha is observed more in its violation. The authorities are lax and very often hand-in-gloves with forest officials,” said animal right activist Shahi Kant Mishra.

However, forest officials said while anti-poaching camps had been set up at Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi river mouths, patrolling by boats has now been stepped up at two other nesting sites.

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