The Indian Coast Guards have recently enforced laws and started operation Olivia to protect Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha.
About Operation Olivia:
- Operation Olivia was started by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), first in early 1980s.
- This operation helps protect Olive Ridley turtles as they congregate along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting.
- There are three beaches along the Odisha coast including Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi River, and Rushikulya.
- The Coast Guard carries out round-the-clock surveillance from November till May utilizing Coast Guard assets like Fast patrol vessels, Interceptor craft, Air cushion vessels and Dornier aircraft to enforce laws near the rookeries
- The Orissa Marine Fisheries Act empowers the Coast Guard as one of its enforcement agencies.
Measures Taken :
- The compulsory 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.
- Curtailing turtle poaching.
- Olive Ridley turtles are listed as vulnerable under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 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.
Olive Ridley turtle:
- The Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known commonly as the Pacific Ridley sea turtle, is a species of turtle in the family Cheloniidae.
- The species is one of the most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
- It is primarily found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but also in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
- This turtle and the related Kemp’s ridley turtle are best known for their unique mass nesting sites called arribadas, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
- Breeding and nesting of the Olive Ridley Turtles is observed from November to December.
- Dense fishing activity along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Bengal, especially ocean-going trawlers, mechanized fishing boats, and gill-netters pose a severe threat to turtles.
- Heavy predation of Olive Ridley turtle eggs by dogs and wild animals.
- Beach soil erosion.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG):
- ICG is an Armed Force, Search and Rescue and Maritime Law Enforcement agency under the Ministry of Defence.
- It was established in 1978.
- It has a wide range of task capabilities for both surface and air operations.
- It is one of the largest coast guards in the world.