Fishermen Attacking Marine Patrolling Team in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, Kendrapara

In a concerning development, fishermen engaging in illegal activities within the prohibited zones of the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara reportedly assaulted forest department officials on Tuesday. The altercation took place at the Mahanadi river mouth near Hukitola within the sanctuary. This area is under a fishing ban to facilitate the safe mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley turtles, which annually lay eggs in large numbers along the beach. According to accounts, a team of eleven forest department personnel encountered around 15-20 trawlers fishing unlawfully in the restricted region. When instructed to cease fishing and vacate the area, the fishermen purportedly attacked the officials. Despite being outnumbered, the forest department staff managed to escape the situation by brandishing their firearms and promptly alerted the Dhamra Marine Police Station. This incident highlights the ongoing conflict between conservation efforts and illegal fishing practices detrimental to the Olive Ridley turtles. The Odisha government imposes a seven-month fishing ban along a 20-km stretch of the Dhamra-Hukitola river mouth from November to May to safeguard the turtles during their nesting period, as trawlers using mono-filament nets often inadvertently capture and harm these breeding turtles.

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