Order of the Orissa High Court regarding Olive Ridley turtles dying in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, Kendrapara, Odisha, 23/02/2021

  • 23/02/2021

Order of the Orissa High Court in the matter of W.P.(C) No. 7118 of 2021 - PIL.

The matter related to conservation of Olive Ridley turtles. An article dated February 4, 2021 published in Down to Earth and authored by Ashis Senapati has been brought to the notice of the high court. It mentioned that 800 Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha have died since January 2021 in the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles. The article mentioned that turtles were dying after getting stuck in fishing nets. Many of the dead turtles bore injuries and were found trapped in a trawl or gill nets.

The bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B. P. Routray noted that despite several directions issued over the years, nothing much appears to have happened to improve the situation of Olive Ridley turtles. The government of Odisha had imposed a ban on  fishing activities in the Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary upto 20 kilometers off the shore from 1st November 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. Despite the state claiming that surprise raids are being carried out to implement the above ban order, clearly not enough has been done, the court said.

The Orissa High Court directed notice to be issued to the:

  • Government of Odisha, Department of Environment and Forests
  • Assistant Conservator or Forests, Mangrove Forest Division (WL), Rajnagar
  • Additional District Magistrate, Kendrapara
  • Deputy Director, Fisheries (SBW), Cuttack and the
  • Collector, Kendrapara

They concerned parties are required to apprise the court on the next date (February 26, 2021) of the steps taken to deal with the crisis mentioned in the DTE article on an urgent basis.