State

Operation launched to intercept unlawful trawling

Kendrapara:Dec 24; The Coast Guard has launched 'Operation Oliva' to intercept unlawful trawling activities along Odisha coast while embarking on its annual mission to ensure safe mid-sea sojourn of Olive Ridley turtles.

"The Odisha government agencies have sought for our services in the turtle conservation programme. Accordingly the operation to keep watch and vigil on illegal fishing along the turtle concentration zone is presently going on in full swing," said Deupty Commandant (operation), Coast Guard, Paradip, V Vijay.

The Coast Guard had pressed into service an improvised ship, besides a dronier aircraft to keep a tab on illegal fishing in the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, he said.

"The patrol exercise for surveillance on trespassing sea-worthy trawls is in full swing as turtles perish in large number after getting hit on trawl propellers. Besides breeding, animals get entangled in fishing nets and are asphyxiated to death," he said.

As the turtles had begun arriving en masse for mating, an aircraft was being pressed into service for easy interception of illegal trawling operation along the marine sanctuary water zone, he said.

The patrol in turtle congregation sites would remain in force till the marine turtles finished laying eggs on nesting beaches, he said.

The Coast Guard has appealed to the state government to issue identity cards to local fishermen to detect Bangladeshi infiltrators due to their striking similarity in language, looks and physical features with local Bengali-speaking marine fishermen, said another Coast Guard official.

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