Administration set ready for Olive Ridley protection operations

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Administration set ready for Olive Ridley protection operations

 11.10 lakh turtles emerged from sea to lay eggs during 2017-18 seasons.

Ban period will be enforced from 1st November to 31st May

A fellowship on Olive Ridley conservation will be instituted.

Bhubaneswar: October 30: Administration is set ready for Olive Ridley sea turtle protection & conservation operations during the current nesting season.  For the purpose, meeting of the High Power Committee for Protection and Conservation of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in secretariat conference hall today evening. Reviewing the steps taken so far in this direction, Chief Secretary Sri Padhi directed the departments of Fishery, Forest and Marine police to operate in close coordination and ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules. The Coast Guard was requested to have real time intelligence sharing with the departments about any illegal fishing. The institutions like Test Range, DRDO, Dhamara Port, Gopalpur Port  and Paradeep port authorities  were requested to follow the black-out practices and light deeming to save  turtles from possible  delusion.

Further, Chief Secretary Sri Padhi directed the concerned departments not to cause unnecessary harassment to the small traditional fishermen without power boats and catch hold of the real criminals who cause damage to the life of turtles.  It was also decided to extend livelihood support programmes to the fishermen during the ban period under ICZM project. The committee proposed to enhance the livelihood support assistance from Rs.5000/- to Rs.7500/- to each family. The meeting also resolved to cover more eligible fishermen during the current year who suffer because of the fishing ban.

The proposal for setting up one Sea Turtle Research Center figured in the meeting.  It was decided to set up the site near Ghati Central Nursery in the Khalikot forest range of Ganjam district. Chief Secretary  Padhi directed to plan the activities in the center in such a manner that it remains vibrant throughout the year and serves as a real resource center on sea turtle.  The proposal for instituting a research fellowship on Olive Ridley conservation was discussed in the meeting. It was also proposed to name the fellowship after late Dr. Chandrasekhar Kar, renowned expert and scientist of wild life organization. The fellowship would be awarded for post doctoral studies.

Presenting the updates in the meeting , PCCF, Wild Life Sri Sandeep Tripathy said, “During the last year (2017-18) around 11.10 lakh Olive  Ridley emerged from the sea to lay eggs along Odisha coast. Because of better coordination mechanism among the concerned departments like coast guard, naval wing, ITR, Fisheries & Animal Resource department, Police, various Port authorities, community based organizations and forest & environment department, the sea turtle conservation and protection operation was carried on successfully.

The meeting deliberated on Action Plan for 2018-19. It was decided that operations would start from 1st November, 2018 and would continue up to May, 2019.  Fishing by motorized vessels / trawlers and mechanized techniques would be banned within 20 kms from the specified coast of the sea comprising sea turtle congregation area and their buffer zones in 3 river moths namely Dhamara river mouth, Devi river mouth and Rusikulya river mouth. Wide awareness activities would be undertaken for the purpose. A central monitoring unit would be set up in the office of the PCCF, Wild Life. There would be circle level monitoring mechanisms under the direct supervision of Regional Conservator of Forests (RCCF), Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Baripada. They would coordinate with other law enforcing agencies and involve local NGOs in the activities. Berthing places would be set up at Barunei, Gupti, Sasanapeta and Krushnapriyapur and Rajnagar for safe custody of the seized vessels. There would be around 62 petroling camp sites including 57 on-shore and 5 off-shore camps. Each camp would be provided with VHF communication devices, mobile phones and required camping materials. There would be regular communication and intelligence sharing among coast guard, patrolling ship, and various camps and marine police. APR force would be deployed for patrolling and enforcement activities.  Collectors would depute magistrates to remain in charge of APR force placed at disposal of DFOs. The industries and ports along the coast were requested to comply with the lighting regulations.  Sporadic nesting activities of the turtles and their mortality would be monitored through a web portal under the title ‘manage.odishawildlife.org’ .  Soon after mass nesting, the rookeries would be fenced to protect the nests and eggs.  Patrolling along with watch & ward activities would be further strengthened like previous years.

Additional Chief Secretary  Forest & Environment Sri Suresh Kumar Mohapatra,  PCCF Wild Life Sri Sandeep Tripathy, Expert Member Dr Priyambada Mohanty ( Hejmadi),  Coast Guard Commandant, Director wild life Institute, Deheradun,  along with senior officers from concerned departments, Interim Test Range and Dhamara Paradeep and Gopalpur  ports  participated in discussions.