Other States

Odisha to compensate fishermen

The Odisha government has decided to compensate fishermen for the loss or damage of nets if gharials get entangled during fishing in the Mahanadi river. The decision was taken recently after instances of fishermen killing gharials coming to the fore.

For close to five decades, the State government has been involved in conservation of three crocodile species by establishing rearing centres — Tikarpada for gharial in Angul, Ramatirtha for muggers in Mayurbhanj and Bhitarkanika for saltwater crocodile in Kendrapara district.

Besides, there is a captive breeding centre at Nandankanan for all the three crocodiles.

Though conservation measures in the past had helped in recovery of self-sustaining population of mugger and saltwater crocodiles, the revival of gharials was not successful. More than 700 Gharials have been released into the Satkosia Gorge since 1977. No remarkable sighting of the reptile is noticed.

Last year, Gharials fitted with transmitters were released into Mahanadi River. Later carcasses two Gharials were found floating. It was ascertained that the Gharials had external injuries.

“For long, we have been releasing Gharials into Mahanadi River after breeding them. But, we have noticed very fewer numbers of Gharials are surviving. Gharials are getting caught in fishing nets of fishermen. Fishermen are killing them,” said Hari Shankar Upadhyay, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife).

“We have decided to create awareness among fishermen that they should immediately release Gharials back to Mahanadi River even though their nets are damaged. The nets would be compensated by the government,” said Mr. Upadhyay.

The compensation would be provided to fishermen in districts such as Angul and Cuttack situated along Mahanadi, he informed.

According to wildlife wing of State forest department, gharials, the large reptiles which were abundant in the main rivers and tributaries of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mahanadi-Brahmani river system, are now limited to only 14 widely spaced and restricted localities of India and Nepal. Satkosia Gorge of Mahanadi is the southernmost limit of the home range and last home of gharials.

Odisha is the only state in India having all three species of crocodiles (Gharial, mugger and saltwater crocodile) found in nature. The department also announced to raise awareness among fisherfolks for Gharial conservation.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 5:24:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-to-compensate-fishermen/article33203153.ece

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