The Indian Coast Guard recently launched ‘Operation Oliva’ in Odisha with a mission to save the endangered olive ridley turtles. This is an effort to ensure olive ridley turtles&8217; breeding and to cut off intruding fishing vessels.
These rescue efforts have been launched as part of an annual mission at the three major nesting sites of the turtles —Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary, Devi river mouth, and Rushikulya beach. The Indian Coast Guard has joined hands with the forest department to keep a round-the-clock tab on illegal fishing and trespassing along the areas where turtles are found in high concentration and to keep the turtle conservation operation going. This patrol is expected to go on till the turtles&8217; nesting period is over.
According to PTI reports, Deputy Inspector General of Coast Guard, Odisha, Sanjeev Deewan, said,
“Nearly 40 trawls have been nabbed so far on charge of trespassing into the prohibited sea waters and nearly 250 fishermen have been held for illegal fishing. The arrested fishermen were handed over to the forest department for prosecution. Last week, as many as 196 fishermen were caught and 24 trawls used by them for fishing were seized.”
Aircraft have also been made a part of the operation by the Indian Coast Guard to investigate any illegal fishing in Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary. In addition, interactive sessions have been held with the fishermen to make them aware of the situation and the reason behind the imposed restrictions. Elaborating on this, Deewan told PTI reporters,
&8220;The patrol exercise for surveillance on trespassing sea-worthy trawls is on as turtles perish in large numbers after getting hit by trawl propellers. Besides, breeding animals get entangled in fishing nets and are asphyxiated to death.&8221;
The Indian Coast Guard&8217;s proactiveness in taking all the steps necessary to make Operation Oliva successful should definitely be lauded.