PREPARATIONS AT RUSHIKULYA ROOKERY
What’s in news?
Preparations are almost done at the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast to welcome and protect olive ridley turtles during mass nesting.
- The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.
- To provide security to mother turtles as well as the eggs from human and predator intervention, the forest department is erecting an over 5-km-long fence of metal net from Gokharkuda to Bateswar. This stretch is the most preferred location for mass nesting in the Rushikulya rookery.
- The forest officials have already completed two to three rounds of awareness drive at all villages near the rookery.
- Fishing in mechanised boats, including trawlers, has been banned.
- In February, a fishing trawler from Andhra Pradesh was seized as it had illegally entered the restricted zone.
- The whole stretch of the nesting beach has been cleaned four times in February.
- Debris and plastic waste, like pieces of fishing net, are being removed with the help of locals. There will be regular monitoring of the beach.
Olive Ridley Turtles:
- Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in the world.
- It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
- It is found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
- These turtles, along with the Kemps ridley turtle, are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada (mass-nesting event when thousands of turtles come ashore at the same time to lay eggs on the same).
- They are carnivores.
- It is classified as Vulnerable in IUCN Red List and is listed in Appendix I of CITES.
- In India, it is protected under Wildlife (Protection) Act.
- Unfriendly fishing practices: The accidental killing of adult turtles through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.
- The Odisha government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.
- However, this has been strongly opposed by the fishing communities as they believe TEDs result in loss of a considerable amount of the catch along with the turtle.
- Development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports and tourist centres.
- 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 close to the mouth of Brahmani-Baitarani Rivers,
- Devi river mouth
- Rushikulya river mouth
- It originates from Rushikulya hills of the Eastern Ghats in Phulbani district.
- It is 165 kms. long with 8900 sq.kms of catchment areas.
- It covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam district of Odisha.
Links to note: