Trawlers under lens after dead turtles found on Puri beach

Trawlers under lens after dead turtles found on Puri beach

The local administration in Puri has ordered an inquiry into the death of a large number of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles on the coastline of the Odisha temple town. 

In the last two days, more than 160 dead turtles have been found on the Puri sea beach, triggering concern among the locals as well as environmentalists.

“I have been doing sand art here for a long time, but I have never seen so many dead turtles on the beach”, said well-known sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik, a Puri resident.

“We have already directed the forest department as well as marine police stations in nearby areas to ascertain the cause of turtle deaths,” a senior district official sais.

He added: “ Appropriate action will be initiated afterwards.”  The locals residents and activists working for the protection of the sea turtles maintain that the rare marine species have been killed by mechanised fishing trawlers illegally operating off the coast of Puri.

Ban on fishing activities

Currently, a ban is in place on fishing activities by mechanised trawlers within 20 kms from the entire Odisha coast because of the ongoing turtle season.

However, despite the ban order, large number of trawlers both from within the state as well as from neighbouring coastal states are seen operating within the restricted zone and the authorities have not been able to prevent that.

Apart from Olive Ridley turtles, the dead bodies of a few dolphins have also been recovered from the Puri sea beach in the last two days.

Illegal trawling

They, too, were suspected to have been victims of illegal trawling activities.The brackish water Chilika lake which is partly located in Puri district is home to many highly endangered dolphins.

It is suspected that some which entered the sea might have been killed by the blades of the mechanised trawlers.

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