The Odisha government has proposed to ban movement of mechanised fishing boats in Mangalajodi area on the banks of Chilika lake — an important bird area (IBA) — in order to provide winged guests an undisturbed ecosystem for six months ever year.
The Orissa High Court concurred with the proposal by directing that the agreed decisions regarding banning of mechanised fishing boats in Mangalajodi area will be strictly implemented till further orders.
The issue was deliberated at a high-level meeting convened in response to an Orissa High Court order which says, “the Fisheries Department and Wildlife Department will in consultation with each other come up with concrete set of measures to be put in place to regulate the activity in the area and restrict the use of motorboats preferably to one main channel.”
Mangalajodi is recognised as globally important for the conservation of bird population. The area is used for roosting and nesting by migratory birds. However, it is not protected by any statutory rules and regulation. The area is 8.3 square km of marshy land with emergent vegetation.
As per the meeting’s proceedings submitted to the High Court, “fishermen may be allowed to use all the main channels leading to Mangalajodi, Sundarpur, Bhusundapur and Kalupadaghata. There should be a ban on movement of mechanised boats in all sub-channels from October till March.”
“All main channels need to be geo-referenced for village-wise permit to ply their boats. All sub-channels need to be geo-referenced for prevention of motor boat movement,” experts mooted in the meeting.
“A request will be made to Fishery and Animal Resource Development Department to examine the matter under provision of Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982 under section 4(1) which states the government may restrict or prohibit the using of such fishing gear for which licence is being granted in any specified area as may be prescribed,” the meeting resolved.
District Administration, Khordha would be requested to provide assistance to enforce the ban in movement of motorised boats in the sub-channels, if the ban is imposed by government.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S. Muralidhar, and Judge R. K. Pattanaik will hear the case on April 6.