KENDRAPARA: In view of the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles, the Forest department has decided to demarcate the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary within Bhitarkanika National Park by installing buoys in the sea. A seven-month fishing ban will also be imposed in the sanctuary, the world’s largest rookery, from November 1 to May 31.
Speaking at a meeting on protection and conservation of Olive Ridley turtles here on Tuesday, DFO of the park Bikash Ranjan Dash said the 68 km marine sanctuary from Hukitola to Dhamra will be demarcated to prevent fishermen from entering it and to protect the endangered species. The demarcation work will be carried out soon.
Every year, Forest department and Indian Coast Guard personnel arrest several fishermen for entering into the marine sanctuary. “However, once it is demarcated, we hope the fishermen would guard against entering the restricted areas of the sanctuary. Around 4,07,020 turtles had laid eggs from March 14 to 21 at the Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands within the sanctuary this year,” said the DFO.
The fishermen said the sanctuary was demarcated by the Forest department two years back and 15 buoys were installed for the purpose. But all of those were washed away. “The authorities must install around 100 good quality buoys to demarcate the ‘no fishing zone’ which is spread over 1,360 sq km area in the sea. Fishermen often face problems as they enter the sanctuary by mistake in the absence of demarcation,” said secretary of Odisha Machyajibi Forum Krushna Chandra Swain.