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Coast Guard launches operation to safeguard turtles

Press Trust of India  |  Kendrapara (Odisha) 

The Coast Guard has launched an exercise along the serene sea waters of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles during their mating season, a senior CG officer said.

The Coast Guard has launched the 'Operation Oliva' exercise as part of its annual mission to ensure the safe mid-sea sojourn of breeding Olive Ridley sea turtles, he said.

In coordination with the state Forest department, the turtle conservation programme is in full swing since last month to keep watch and vigil on illegal fishing along the turtle concentration zone, said Commandant, Paradip Coast Guard, B Nath Mahato.

The Coast Guard has chalked out a pro-active plan for these marine animals conservation. With round-the-clock vigil, the Coast Guard has been able to provide adequate protection to the endangered species.

Besides a ship, CG has also pressed into service an aircraft for the operation oliva. It is keeping tab on illegal fishing in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.

The coast guard has organised interactive sessions with the marine fishermen communities to sensitise them on the pros and cons of legal embargo on fishing during ridleys nesting season.

"The patrol exercise for surveillance on trespassing sea-worthy trawls is on as turtles perish in large number after getting hit on trawl propellers. Besides breeding animals get entangled in fishing nets and are asphyxiated to death," said the CG commandant.

As the turtles have begun arriving en masse for mating, an aircraft is being pressed into service for easy interception of illegal trawling operation along the marine sanctuary water zone.

"The Coast Guard is always on alert to check trespassing of vessels. The patrol vessels engaged by Forest and Fisheries department often seek CG ship assistance in the event of exigencies. The operation to save turtles is being carried on in a coordinated manner," he said.

We are always ready to help the forest and fisheries department for the safety of these delicate marine species, quipped CG officials.

A state-of-the-art CG ship is maintaining round-the-clock vigil along the coastal shoreline.

The CG patrol in turtle congregation sites would remain in force till the marine turtles finish laying eggs on nesting beaches, said the CG official.

There is increase in awareness level among the fishermen communities. As a result, unlawful sea fishing has dropped considerably this time since the enforcement of prohibition on sea fishing from November 1 within the 20-km radius of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, officials added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 14 2018. 12:30 IST