Kendrapara, Nov 26: Forest personnel have taken into custody at least nine sea-going fishermen in a mid-sea interception of unlawful fishing activity along the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.
The trawl used by the intruders for fishing along the prohibited breeding zones of the endangered marine animals was seized by the patrolling unit engaged by forest department for conservation of Olive Ridley sea turtles.
The fishing vessel had trespassed into prohibited sanctuary corridors contravening the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act and mandatory rules of marine sanctuary.
They were later forwarded to jail custody under the Section 27 & 29 of the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, said forest officials.
The sea patrolling has been stepped up within the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary water territory in view of the annual mass nesting season of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.
It should be noted here that the State Government has clamped trawl fishing ban along the 20 km stretch Gahirmatha marine sanctuary from November 1 in view of the ensuing mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley marine turtles.
The imposition of prohibition was in accordance with Sections 2, 3, 4 of Orissa Maine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA).
Rise in mortality rate of mating turtles along the coastal water surface led to the clamping of prohibition as the gill nets used by the trawls prove to be messenger of death for breeding turtles.
The mute species, accorded as Schedule-1 animal under Wildlife Protection Act for its highly threatened status, get entangled in the nets for prolonged period and die of asphyxiation. The turtles also perish in large number after getting hit by the fast moving propeller of the fishing trawlers, forest personnel said.