The Odisha Government has decided to compensate 8,000 fishermen families who would bear losses due to fishing ban, imposed from November 1, for protection of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, an official said. The restriction on fishing activity will be in force till May 31, 2020, and the state would provide Rs 7,500 to each family during the period, the official said.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Sandeep Tripathy said the seven-month ban on fishing by the trawlers with 30 HP or more has been imposed up to "20 kms inside the sea, particularly in Olive congregation area and their buffer zones in three river mouths, namely Dhamara, Devi and Rushikulya".
Around 8 lakh Olive Ridley turtles gather every year to lay eggs along Odisha coast, the official said. With the season for mass nesting of the turtles approaching, the state government has geared up to ensure the safety of the endangered species, chief secretary A K Tripathy said.
"The state administration is ready for protection and conservation of the turtles during the current nesting season," he said during a meeting of the High Power Committee for Protection and Conservation of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles on Thursday.
While directing the departments of fishery, forest and marine police to operate in close coordination and ensure strict enforcement of the conservation rules, Tripathy urged the Coast Guard to have real time intelligence sharing with the state government about any illegal fishing in Odisha coast.
The chief secretary also directed the departments concerned "not to harass fishermen" who carry out fishing without power boats.
"Since the Olive Ridley breeding in Odisha has a significant impact on the overall population of the rare species, we must take pride for protecting it," Tripathy said.
Official sources said that the government has prepared an action plan on the turtle protection for 2019-20.
A massive awareness campaign would be undertaken for the purpose while a central monitoring unit would be set up in the office of the PCCF, Wildlife to oversee all such activities, they said.
Hari Sankar Upadhya, PCCF (Wildlife), said, "There would be 66 off shore patrolling camps this year. Babubali, Agarnasi, Devinasi and Purunabandha will be the bases."