Bhubaneswar: As the exotic Olive Ridley turtles started coming to lay eggs on Odisha coast, the State government Thursday launched a massive drive to protect the endangered marine species.

The government has banned fishing till May 31, 2020 in Olive congregation areas and their buffer zones in three river mouths of Dhamra, Devi and Rushikulya. Trawlers with 30 HP or more would be banned upto 20 km inside the sea particularly Olive Ridley congregation areas.

At the high-level meeting held under the chairmanship of the chief secretary Asit Tripathy, it was decided that patrolling along the coast would be tightened to protect the sea turtle.

The PCCF wildlife, Hari Shankar Upadhya said there would be 66 off shore patrolling camps this year. Babubali, Agarnasi, Devinasi and Purunabandha will be bases for sea going patrol. Four berthing places at Barunei, Gupti, Sanapeta and Krishnapriyapur will be set up for safe custody of seized vessels. Conservation and protection will carried on with coordination with coast guard, naval wing, Interim Test Range(Chandipur), fisheries and animal husbandry resources department, police, various port authorities, community bases organisation.

Soon after mass nesting, the rookeries would be fenced to protect the nests and eggs. Sporadic nesting activities of the turtles and their mortality would be monitored through a web portal under the title ‘’

Turtles coming for mass nesting

The meeting was told that over 8,000 fishermen families who would be affected due to the fishing ban between November and May would provided with provided compensation of Rs7,500 per month.

State principal secretary, home, Sanjeev Chopra, forest and environment principal secretary Mona Sharma, PCCF Sandeep Tripathy, expert member Priyambada Hejmadi, director wildlife Institute Deheradun, coast guard commandant, and senior officers from ITR, Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur ports were present.