Row over fishermen’s arrest for poaching as recovered marine species does not belong under Wildlife Protection Act
Stating that Himantura fluviatilis is protected under schedule I, part II of the Wildlife Protection Act, Divisional Forest Officer JD Pati said the species is classified as endangered.
KENDRAPARA: The arrest of two fishermen from a market in Kendrapara district for poaching marine species has sparked off a controversy as the fish seized from them do not belong to any schedule under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Even as forest officials claimed to have seized two endangered Ganges Stingray (Himantura fluviatilis) from the fishing market at Garjanapur within Bhitarkanika National Park on Friday with the arrest of two fishermen, marine species researchers said the seized species is not stingray.
Stating that Himantura fluviatilis is protected under schedule I, part II of the Wildlife Protection Act, Divisional Forest Officer JD Pati said the species is classified as endangered and considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction.
However, scientist E of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) Anil Mohapatra said it is an unfortunate incident as the species seized from the fishermen are ‘Urogymnus polylepis’ and ‘Pastinachus ater’ which are are non-scheduled fishes.
“Not all rays or sharks are scheduled species. Since the species seized look similar to polylepis and ater due to their morphology, the forest officials might have misidentified them and arrested the fishermen,” he maintained.
Suggesting that the forest officials should seek the help of any national agency to properly identify the marine species before taking legal action, Mohapatra said, the arrested fishermen must be released immediately