Prawn hatchery being built on Olive ridley’s

Despite the district administration’s notice to stop work, construction work of a prawn hatchery is continuing at the nesting site of Olive ridleys at Rushikulya rookery coast in the Ganjam district of Odisha.

Environmental activists, social workers who visited the construction site of the prawn hatchery on October 6 observed that the restriction imposed by the administration on the construction work had been flouted.

With cloth barricades all around, construction work is continuing unabated. “This has enthused some people to start the process of establishing more prawn hatcheries in the area, which would completely destroy the habitat of Olive ridleys who come to this beach to nest,” said Ravindranath Sahu, secretary of Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee (RSTPC).

Ganjam district collector Prem Chandra Chaudhary said he would immediately take up the matter with the Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) to initiate action.

As per the norms, prawn hatcheries are to have Costal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance as well as permission from the Aquaculture Authority of India, which have not been acquired by the proposed prawn hatchery. So, in August the administration had ordered it to stop the construction work. Social activist Mangaraj Panda said local villagers who owing to their traditional belief are involved in protection of Olive ridleys had also protested against the proposed prawn hatcheries.

On July 14, a group of miscreants had attacked wild life activist and secretary of RSTPC, Mr Sahu over the issue. Wild life scientists like Bivash Pandav of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) are of the opinion that prawn hatcheries would be detrimental to the nesting of Olive ridleys and in the long run these endangered marine turtles may shy away from approaching this coast to nest.

In 1998, a similar attempt had been made for the establishment of a prawn hatchery at Rushikulya rookery coast. It could not be established due to protests by wildlife and environmental activists including Mr Pandav.

Mr Pandav, Mr Panda and Mr Sahu said it is high time the Odisha government took strict measures to end attempts like the establishment of prawn hatcheries which would destroy the environment at this major nesting site of Olive ridleys at Rushikulya rookery coast

Content Courtesy: The Hindu

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