Bhubaneswar: In order to conduct research on Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Odisha Government has decided to set up a Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Centre at Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district.
Land has been identified for establishment of the Centre at Rushikulya river mouth, said PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Susanta Nanda said here on Thursday.
Speaking to media persons here, PCCF Shri Nanda said a lot of students and foreign delegates are very eager to know about the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. However, due to non availability of such centres, they are unable to get detailed information about how they take birth and how the turtles are evolved. Therefore, this Centre has been proposed, he said.
The DFO of Berhampur will coordinate with the Ganjam Collector for establishment of a Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Centre at Rushikulya river mouth in the district.
The ban on fishing within 20 km from the coast for the protection of turtles has been imposed from November 1 till May 30, 2024. So, the PCCF Wildlife appealed to the people and fishermen not to violate the ban order. If anyone is found violating the ban order, strong action will be taken against the violator, warned Nanda.
Mass matting of the Olive Ridley sea turtles has been started at Rushikulya and Gahirmatha river mouths.
This year, over 5.12 lakh turtles laid eggs off the Gahirmatha coast from 9 to 13 March, 2023, and around 6.37 lakh turtles at Rushikulya between 23 February and 2 March. After the mass egg donation, the eggs were cordoned off for protection and a strict vigil was kept, sources said.
The State Wildlife Directorate had urged the Integrated Testing Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore to stop missile testing during the mass nesting period.
“As per our request, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has agreed to stop missile testing at Integrated Testing Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore during the mass nesting season of Olive Ridley sea turtles to ensure the endangered species wins the race for survival,” said the PCCF Wildlife.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are playing an important role from the tourism point of view of our state. Every year, lakhs of olive ridley turtles come to the banks of the River Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, Devi River Mouth, Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary, Rushikulya Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha to lay eggs.
Like last year, 66 patrolling camps have been made functional with VHF, mobile phones and other facilities and 10 speed boats have been deployed for the patrolling. Joint patrolling of the sea is being done in collaboration with the Forest Department, Indian Coast Guard, Fisheries Department and Marine Police.
The State Government has enhanced the compensation provided to the fishermen during the ban period from Rs 7,500 to Rs 15,000, he informed.
Dhamra and Paradip port authorities have been directed to provide one sea ship each to the DFO of Mangrove Forest Division (Wildlife) of Rajnagar for sea patrolling. Similarly, Gopalpur Port authorities have been requested to provide a sea-bound vessel to the DFO of Berhampur Division for sea patrolling.
Last year, 11.50 lakh turtles arrived to Odisha coast for mass nesting. So, PCCF Wildlife Shri Nanda appealed to all people and fishermen to cooperate for protection of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.