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Turtle deaths reduced in Devi region

Staff Reporter



Report is released by the Greenpeace, an environmental pressure group

It welcomes some of the initiatives taken by the State Government



BHUBANESWAR: Greenpeace, an environmental pressure group, on Sunday said turtle mortalities had so far reduced by close to 20 per cent in the Devi region as compared to the same time last year.

“The season of 2008-2009 has brought with it a flavour of change. While we are happy at the progress made, the Forest Department needs to commit to progressively reducing the annual turtle mortality over the next five seasons,” said Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace in a release here.

The organisation, however, had a note of caution for the Fisheries Department.

Patrolling

“Regular marine patrolling by the Fisheries Department is vital to safeguard the interests of traditional fishermen from trawling, which currently is operating unchecked in the region. It will result in a substantial drop in turtle mortalities as well,” Ms.

Hamid said.

Greenpeace welcomed some of the initiatives of the State Government.

It said the State Government had committed to include independent observers (local organisations) in the process of monitoring turtle mortalities along coastline, to ensure transparency and greater accuracy.

“Creation of a dedicated budgetary head and resources, specifically for turtle conservation is a welcome step. It would assist in streamlining resources, while increasing the accountability of the department of forests and wildlife,” the organisation said.

Directorate of fisheries had also deployed fast boats for marine patrolling, it said.

Greenpeace said it had suggested a solution about sustainable fisheries management. If adopted it would safeguard the livelihoods of the traditional fishing population, while by default, reducing turtle mortalities significantly, the organisation said.

“These are steps in the right direction, and we are now hopefully seeing the beginning of the end of the turtle fisheries conflict. Of course, for these commitments to translate into real change, continued implementation on the ground is absolutely necessary,” Ms. Hamid said.

She said it was now more vital than ever to expedite an alternative livelihood or income generation programme, for traditional fishermen in the Gahirmatha, Devi and Rushikulya regions.

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