Five arrested for fishing in marine sanctuary

Bhubaneswar, Feb 21 (IANS) At least five fishermen were arrested Sunday for fishing at the prohibited area of a world famous turtle nesting site in Orissa, officials said.

The fishermen were arrested for fishing at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapada district, 175 km from here where at least 700,000-800,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles come every winter for mass nesting.

‘We have arrested five fishermen and seized a trawler which they used in fishing,’ Divisional Forest Officer P.K Behera told IANS.

‘Now mass mating in the water is already over. Sporadic nesting has been reported. The turtles may start mass nesting any time,’ he said.

With Sunday’s arrests, the total number of people taken into custody since Nov 1 has risen to 81 and number of boats seized for operating illegally within the sanctuary area has risen to 15, he said.

The state government has banned all fishing activities from Nov 1 to May 1, within the 20 km off the coast at Gahirmatha, to protect the endangered sea turtle species.

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