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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 13 June, 2021

  • 7 Min Read

Operation Olivia

Operation Olivia

  • Every year, the Indian Coast Guard’s “Operation Olivia”, initiated in the early 1980s, helps protect Olive Ridley turtles as they congregate along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting from November to December.
  • The Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is listed as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list.
  • All five species of sea turtles found in India are included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and in the Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which prohibits trade in turtle products by signatory countries.
  • The Orissa Marine Fisheries Act empowers the Coast Guard as one of its enforcement agencies.
  • The Olive Ridley has one of the most extraordinary nesting habits in the natural world, including mass nesting called arribadas. The 480-km-long Odisha coast has three arribada beaches at Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi river, and in Rushikulya, where about 1 lakh nests are found annually.
  • Sea turtles generally return to their natal beach, or where they were born, to lay eggs as adults. Mating occurs in the offshore waters of the breeding grounds and females then come ashore to nest, usually several times during a season.
  • “Studies have found three main factors that damage Olive Ridley turtles and their eggs — heavy predation of eggs by dogs and wild animals, indiscriminate fishing with trawlers and gill nets, and beach soil erosion.
  • Dense fishing activity along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Bengal, especially ocean-going trawlers, mechanised fishing boats and gill-netters pose a severe threat to turtles.
  • Coordination of efforts is done at various levels, the officer explained, including enforcing the use of turtle excluder devices (TED) by trawlers in the waters adjoining nesting areas; prohibiting the use of gill nets on turtle approaches to the shore; and curtailing turtle poaching.

Source: TH


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