In the latest crackdown on illegal fishing, the forest personnel have arrested as many as 30 sea-going fishermen on the charge of carrying out unlawful fishing activity in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara district, officials said on Tuesday.
Five fishing vessels used by the intruders for fishing along the prohibited sanctuary area were seized by the forest patrol team. The intruders who were arrested yesterday and the traditional marine were remanded to judicial custody today, said officials.
The fishing vessel had trespassed into prohibited sanctuary corridors contravening the provisions of wildlife protection act, Orissa Marine fishing regulation act (OMFRA) and mandatory rules of marine sanctuary, said forest officials.
With this, 41 marine fishermen have been arrested in the last one week for violating OMFRA provisions and six fishing crafts used by them for fishing were confiscated.
The olive ridley turtles, accorded as schedule-1 animal under wildlife protection act for its highly threatened status, get entangled in the fishing nets and die of asphyxiation. The turtles also perish in large numbers after getting hit by the fast moving propellers of the fishing trawlers and crafts, forest personnel said.
Five forest divisions in the State have been equipped with five high speed boats, along with 13 trawlers and support boats for intercepting illegal fishing activities in the turtle habitation zones.
Last year around 3.5 lakh turtles had turned up at Gahirmatha nesting ground from 10 March to 24 March for mass nesting, a phenomenon otherwise described as arribada. Thirty eight trawlers were seized and 202 crews were arrested for unlawful fishing activity.
The Gahirmatha rookery in Kendrapara district is widely acclaimed as the World’s largest beach of olive turtles. The Olive turtles turn up in millions for mass nesting along the Odisha coast every year anytime between February to March. Apart from Gahirmatha, these threatened aquatic animals turn up at Rushikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth for mass nesting.