The eastern coastal state of Odisha, with a 480-kilometre long coastline, has been imposing two fishing bans annually for over two decades in order to conserve the fish population and protect the vulnerable olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).
A one-time compensation is provided to the affected families for the loss of livelihood caused to the fishermen at sea, during the second ban. However, the women who are involved in allied jobs and also play a vital role in the supply chain, mostly as retail traders at their local markets, are left to fend for themselves.
Annually, two different types of fishing bans are imposed along the coast of Odisha, in accordance with Sections 2, 7 and 4 of Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, and provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The ban applies to all kinds of trawlers and mechanised motor boats longer than 8.5 metres.
The first ban is a seasonal nationwide fishing ban that runs from April 15 to June 14, to help with breeding of fish. The second one is a seven-month long turtle conservation ban from November 1 to May 31, in specific areas. Odisha is home to three turtle nesting sites, the Gahirmatha beach and the mouths of…