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Carcasses of over 10,000 Olive Ridley turtles washed ashore : NGO

Staff Reporter

The numbers are for the current netting season up to February

BHUBANESWAR: Carcasses of over an estimated 10,000 endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles have washed ashore after being killed by mechanised fishing trawlers along Orissa coast up to February in the current nesting season, alleged Wildlife Society of Orissa, a non-government organisation, here on Thursday.

Estimated 1425 Olive Ridley turtles were killed from Devi mouth to Paradip, 1622 from Devi to Kadua mouth, 2043 from Kadua to Chilika old mouth, 255 from Chilika to Rushikulya river mouth, 3000 in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and 2000 in Dhamra River Mouth, claimed Biswjit Mohanty, secretary of WSO.

Mr. Mohanty said during the last 16 years, more than 1,50,000 turtles had been found dead on the Orissa coast on account of illegal fishing and lack of adequate protection.

For the last several years, the State government had been concealing the figure of the real turtle casualties fearing public outcry over inaction, he alleged saying official death figures were estimated at less than 3,000 turtle deaths so far.

“Due to rampant illegal fishing at Devi river mouth and the Konark coast, many turtles suffered a cruel death in this area. The turtle congregation is now breaking up and there is little chance of mass nesting at Devi river mouth,” Mr. Mohanty apprehended.

He said everyday, hundreds of mating turtles were being slaughtered at Devi river mouth, though trawling was prohibited within 20 kms of the coastline.

The endangered Olive Ridleys of Orissa continued to be massacred despite directions passed in April,2004 by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court to protect them. Mr. Mohanty pointed out.

Two new speed boats bought by the Fisheries Department with a central grant of Rs.120 lakhs were rarely used for marine patrolling, he alleged.

Though TEDs (Turtle Excluder Device) was mandatory as per law, not a single trawler in Orissa used them while this simple device would have saved lives of thousands of turtles.

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