PARADIP:The decomposed carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles are being spotted regularly along the 15 km beach stretch from Nehru Bangla to Jatadhari river in Jagatsinghpur district. The turtles were found floating off the Paradip coast which is close to Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, the biggest rookery for Olive Ridley sea turtles.
Though thousands of turtles visit this beach for nesting every year, little has been done for safety of these endangered marine species. Turtle conservationists said carcasses are becoming a common sight on the beach.
Sources said illegal mechanised fishing activities and pollution pose a serious threat to the Olive Ridley turtles on Paradip coast. Despite vigil by Coast Guard, turtle mortality continues. The Fisheries Department has promulgated Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA) from November to May on Odisha coast for conservation of turtles. As a part of Operation Oliva, an improvised ship and a dornier aircraft had been pressed into service by the Coast Guard to keep a tab on illegal fishing during the ban period. However, locals alleged that the Coast Guard, Marine Police and forest officials conduct raids on illegal trawlers only after spotting dead turtles.
Apparently, five trawlers were seized and fishermen in them arrested for fishing during the ban period.
Forest Ranger, Kujang, Pratap Mohanty said the turtles have not died in Paradip. “The turtles died in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and the carcasses were washed ashore to the Paradip coast due to northerly wind. We have cremated 36 turtle carcasses recently and 12 teams of security personnel have been deployed on the beach stretch to keep a tab on illegal fishing.