Annual fishing ban to protect Olive Ridleys in Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary

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News: On November 1st, the Odisha forest department has put a ban on fishing in Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary. The ban will be in place till May 31, 2020.

Facts:

About Olive Ridley Turtles

  • The Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles in the world.
  • They inhabit in the warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. Further, it has been listed on Schedule – I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The Indian Coast Guard also undertakes “Operation Olivia” every year. It is an Olive Ridley Turtle protection program.
  • The Olive Ridley turtles are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada. During Arribada, a large number of female turtles come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • An important breeding area for olive Ridleys in the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Odisha. There are three major mass nesting areas:
    • Gahirmatha rookery (Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary) close to the mouth of Brahmani-Baitarani Rivers,
    • Devi river mouth and
    • Rushikulya river mouth
  • The major threats to Olive Ridley turtles are:
    • poor fishing practices,
    • development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centres,
    • Poaching for their meat, shell and leather.

About Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary

  • Gahiramatha is located in Odisha’s Kendrapada district. It was declared a marine sanctuary in 1997.
  • It is known as the world’s largest Olive Ridley rookery