January 20th, 2016. BANESWAR : Close on the heels of the mass deaths of whales on a Tamil Nadu beach, over 300 Olive Ridley turtles and a dolphin were found dead along the Puri beach on Wednesday.
Though carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles are usually washed ashore on Puri beach during winter, this was the first time such a large number of sea turtles perished in Puri. The forest authorities and marine fisheries on Wednesday seized two trawlers for carrying out illegal fishing despite a ban in view of the nesting season of the turtles.
Puri collector Arabinda Agarwal said he has sought a report from the concerned agencies about the cause of the deaths. “This is unfortunate that a large number of Olive Ridley turtles died on the beach. It seemed they were hit by trawlers,” Agarwal told media persons.
Beach Protection Council of Odisha (BPCO), a voluntary organization working for the protection of the beach, gave a memorandum to the collector, seeking strict implementation of the fishing ban between November and May. “Trawlers continued to carry out illegal fishing during the ban period due to poor patrolling by marine police and forest authorities,” said BPCO president Jagannath Bastia.
Noted sand sculptor Sudarsan Pattnaik on Wednesday created a sculpture of turtles with message “give us space to live” on Puri beach. “I felt sad to see these turtles and never saw such a huge number of dead turtles on Puri beach. I appeal to the government through my sand sculpture to find out the cause of death of turtles and take measures for their protection,” Pattnaik said.