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Eco Tourism - Orissa Coast

orissa fishing village               Olive ridley turtle         Orissa coast


BHUBANESWAR: With only three days left for lifting fishing ban along the Orissa coast where endangered Olive Ridley turtles congregated for mass nesting, fisher folks seemed to be much relieved now.

Location of Orissa - The State of Orissa is located on the eastern coast of India at 17° 49' North - 22°0 34' North Latitude & 81° 29' East-87° 29' East Longitude. Carved out of Bihar in 1936, Orissa is located on the eastern coast of India. Bordered by Madhya Pradesh in the west, Andhra Pradesh in the south, West Bengal in north-east, Bay of Bengal in the east and Bihar in the north, the state extends to an area of 1,55,707 Sq. Km.

The six-month annual ban on fishing, which was clamped on November 1 last year, would come to end on May 31.
Hits livelihood

However, fisherfolk are increasingly raising voices against the ban as it badly hits their livelihood.

Residents of fishing villages alleged that they were pushed to a corner with no alternative livelihood in hand.

“Out of 240 fishing days in a year 180 fishing days (November 1 to May 31) have been restricted for turtle conservation, which has been affecting approximately 15000 traditional fisherfolk of 36 coastal fishing villages,” said Bichitrananda Biswal, member of Orissa Upakula Surakshya Mahasangha (OUSM).

“The total amount of loss incurred by the marginalized communities each year was around Rs. 40.37 crores.

The ban is imposed during the turtle breeding season and during the ban period the fisher community are provided with no alternate source of livelihood,” Mr. Biswal said.
Innovative idea

However, residents of seven villages near Astaranga have come out with innovate idea to spend the ban period by protecting a casuarina forest.

In the process, villagers of Daruakani, Anakana, Gundalba, Aisinia, Kota and Sribantapur along the right bank of Devi river mouth managed to save a 10 sq kms forest area, which of late, emerged a picnic hotspot for nature lovers.

orisa coast

Perfect host

Around 200 to 300 tourists visit the regenerated forest during every winter season while villagers play the perfect host by catering required foods and rest sheds.

The OUSM said if the government prepared a blueprint for an eco tourism for affected fishing villages, the situation could turn from worse to better.

It would not only provide fisherfolk enhanced livelihood during lean season, but also help reduce pressure on the marine resources.

Moreover, villagers could act as guards to mechanized trawler operators who caused maximum damage to the endangered turtles, Mr. Biswal said.
Development plan

He said Astaranga beach of Devi River Mouth, situated at around 60 kms from Bhubaneswar, could be a place where administration should come out with a definite plan for development of eco-tourism.

Eco tourism overview

Eco Tourism - Orissa Coast