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23 fishermen held for illegal fishing in Gahirmatha

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Kendrapara, Feb 19:

In a joint operation, Indian Coast Guard and Odisha Forest department personnel, arrested 23 fishermen on charges of illegally fishing in the prohibited Gahirmatha marine sanctuary today, official sources said.

The fishermen were nabbed during sea patrolling and seven seaworthy vessels used by them were also seized.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, Kedar Kumar Swain said the fishermen had breached the law by intruding into the prohibited breeding zones of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Forest officials said the arrested fishermen were later sent to jail custody under the relevant sections of the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982.

Till date 29 vessels have been seized and 180 fishermen were taken into custody for violating the prohibition, Forest department sources said.