Fishermen fume over rampant  use of ring nets

Ganjam: At a time when rampant use of ring nets and polythene bags causes severe environment pollution posing threat to marine creatures like endangered Olive Ridley turtles, around 15,000 fishermen of eight villages in Ganjam district have taken a step forward to bring an end to the illegal activities.

The fishermen have formed the ‘Gangadevi Marine Fishermen Association’ and taken upon themselves to prevent fishing using ring nets in the sea.

The association members Saturday seized four boats and detained some fishermen while they were fishing with ring nets. The members then informed the local fishery and the forest departments of the incident.

They were let off after a written undertaking that they will not fish again with ring nets, Divisional Forest Officer Dilip Martha said. The incident spread resentment among the association members who accused the fishery and the forest departments of shielding illegal activities in the sea.

According to the association, the use of ring nets has affected the livelihood of over 15,000 locals of eight villages in the area. When fishing nets are no longer used, they are thrown into the sea. Turtles get entangled in the nets. Once stuck inside plastic nets, turtles get hurt that affects the mating of Olive Ridley turtles.

On the other hand, fishermen go into the sea with food stuff in polythene bags. After eating, they dump the polythene bags in the sea. Small fish and turtles enter the bags to feed on the leftovers and end up getting entangled.

Huge quantities of polythene bags are found floating on the sea. Sea turtles inadvertently get into these bags and get caught inside them.    PNN

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