KENDRAPARA: Forest officials on Thursday arrested 22 marine fishermen for illegally fishing in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary. Two fishing trawlers and nine quintals of fish were seized from them. The arrested were booked under the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and produced in Rajnagar court on Friday. The court rejected their bail pleas and remanded them to judicial custody, said Forest Range Officer of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, Debashis Bhoi.
Fishing is banned within 20 kilometers from coastline in the marine sanctuary areas covering 1435 square kilometers in the sea from Hukitola to Dhamara. Recently, forest officials have demarcated the marine sanctuary area by putting up 15 buoys.
In 1997, the government had declared the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary a protected area for the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles which arrive at its coast in lakhs every winter for laying eggs. All types of fishing have been banned in the sanctuary for seven months from November 1 to May 31 to save the marine species.