Bhubaneswar, Nov 19:

The Odisha government has finalised an action plan for protection and conservation of Olive Ridley turtles during the current nesting season, said an official on Saturday.

turtle hatchlings

It was finalised at a meeting of the committee for protection and conservation of Olive Ridley sea turtles chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here.

Padhi directed the departments of Fishery, Forest and Marine police to operate in close coordination and ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules.

He also advised the concerned departments not to harass the traditional fishermen unnecessarily during the ban period.

As Olive Ridley turtles arrive every year during winter for mass nesting along the Odisha sea coast, the government banned fishing along its coast for the next seven months. The ban will be in force from November 1 to May 31 next year.

The Coast Guard was requested to have real-time intelligence sharing with the departments about any illegal fishing. Dhamara, Gopalpur, and Paradeep port trusts were requested to provide vessels for patrolling in their respective coasts.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sidhant Das said, “This year two high-speed boats have been procured for patrolling along the coast. These boats can run at 30 km per hour and can catch illegal fishermen in the sea”.

Das added that during the current nesting season, a total of 59 camps, both onshore and offshore, would be put up at different places along the coast for detection of illegal fishing.

“We would take the cooperation of the local NGOs, community-based organisations and traditional fishermen. Fisheries and Animal Resource department was requested to regulate fishing activities for traditional fishermen as per the existing rules”, added Das.