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62 held for fishing near turtle nesting site

Orissa,Crime/Disaster/Accident,Environment/Wildlife, Sun, 13 Jan 2013 IANS

Bhubaneswar, Jan 13 (IANS) At least 62 fishermen were arrested for fishing near a turtle nesting site in Odisha's Kendrapada district, an official said Sunday.

The forest and wildlife department nabbed the men Saturday near the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, 170 km from here, Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Mohapatra told IANS.

Three mechanized trawlers and 16 fishing boats were also seized.

With the latest arrests, the number of fishermen held since November for fishing near Gahirmatha has risen to 200, Mohapatra said.

Gahirmatha is one of the world's largest turtle nesting sites and where 700,000-800,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles congregate in the sea waters between October and November and nest between December and March.

Thousands of turtles get killed every year mostly by mechanized trawlers and fishing boats.

The government has imposed a seven-month fishing ban along 120 km of the state's 480 km coastline -- valid from Nov 1 to May 31.

Carcasses of about 200 Olive ridley turtles have been sighted along the Gahirmatha coast this season, Mohapatra added.

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