Fisherman Releases an Endangered Green Sea Turtle!!
Just off the Coastal Road construction site in Worli, a fisherman from Haji Ali’s Lotus Jetty caught and released a juvenile green sea turtle (listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature). Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act also protects the species (1972).
Conservationists reacted angrily to the occurrence, which was captured on camera, claiming that the controversial infrastructure project has so far neglected the presence of such biodiversity in the area.
Last year, Worli Koliwada fisherman Nitesh Patil caught and released an endangered hawksbill turtle less than 200 meters from the Coastal Road reclamation site in a similar scenario. “Fishermen who take their boats out in the area frequently spot dolphins,” Patil told HT.
According to a scheme implemented by the state government in December 2018, fishermen who release protected marine creatures back into the ocean are eligible for monetary compensation if their fishing nets are lost. The administration has received 264 compensation requests so far, with a total of $40,78,050 distributed to 253 fishermen across the state’s coastal districts. To receive the bonus, fishermen must produce video documentation of the release.
The most regularly impacted species are sea turtles, with 138 Olive Ridleys captured and released in just over three years, followed by 67 green sea turtles, five hawksbill turtles, and two leatherback turtles. At least Rs. 30 lakh has been given out in compensation for the release of turtles alone.
The sighting of a green sea turtle, according to Shaunak Modi, director of the Coastal Conservation Foundation and member of a volunteer network called Marine Respondents (which helps rescue stranded animals like turtles and whales from Mumbai’s shores), further proves the need to study the Coastal Road project’s impact on the city’s marine biodiversity.
Coastal Road’s environmental impact assessment report completely ignored the presence of turtles, dolphins, corals, and other rich species in the intertidal zone along with the project site. “A more thorough and honest evaluation is essential,” Modi stated.
“We have already received about 150 crores from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to be used for implementing measures for biodiversity conservation,” said an official with the state forest department, which is tasked with marine life conservation and the implementation of mitigation measures to protect biodiversity along the Coastal Road project.