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‘Don’t harass traditional fishermen during fishing ban’

Bhubaneswar, Nov 19: Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhai on Saturday directed Fisheries and Forests Departments and also the Marine police not to harass the traditional fishermen unnecessarily during the fishing ban period for the turtle nesting season.

“Catch hold of the real criminals who cause damage to the life of turtles,” directed Padhi while chairing a meeting of the High Power Committee for Protection and Conservation of Olive Ridley Sea turtles here State Secretariat here on Saturday.

Padhi directed the Departments of Fisheries and Forest and the 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 Dhamra, Gopalpur and Paradip Port Trusts were urged to provide seaworthy vessels for patrolling in their respective coasts.

Replying to a media query, Wildlife PCCF Sidhant Das said this year two high-speed boats have been procured for patrolling. The boats can run 30 km per hour and spot any illegal fishing. 

Das added that during the nesting season, a total of 59 camps, both onshore and offshore, would be set up at different places along the coast for detection of illegal fishing. There would be two new camps in the Puri and Bhadrak coasts. “We will take cooperation of local NGOs, community-based organisations and traditional fishermen.”

The Fisheries & Animal Resource Department was asked to regulate fishing activities for traditional fishermen as per the existing rules, added Das.

The Action Plan for 2016-17 was discussed and finalised. The All India Radio was requested to spread messages for public awareness. While a central monitoring unit has been set up in the Wild Life PCCF office, there would be circle-level monitoring under direct supervision of Regional Conservators of Forests (RCCFs), Brahmapur and Baripada. Sea patrolling would be launched from various bases near Babubali, Agarnasi, new Devi Nasi island, Purunabandha, etc.

Each of the 59 camps would be provided with VHF communication devices and mobile phones. 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. A web portal under the title ‘manage.odishawildlife.org’ has already been developed for monitoring of sporadic nesting and mortality of the turtles.

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