I have written about turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and how they save adult turtles lives previously. So, this story is an utterly avoidable tragedy brought about by the lack of implementation of laws regulating the use of TEDs.
The death of hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles along the Paravada coast in December 2007 had occurred due to failure of the trawlers to install the mandatory turtle excluder device. Lab tests conducted at Andhra University and Veterinary Biological Research Institute, Hyderabad ruled out the largescale death of the endangered species due to consumption of toxic contents discharged by industries located nearby or on account of rise in the seawater temperature.“We didn’t find any abnormal pollution levels. The washing ashore of carcasses was not a localised phenomena as dead turtles were found all along the coast up to Srikakulam during the year-end – the breeding season,” P.J. Vijaykar, Divisional Forest Officer told The Hindu on Wednesday.
In India, the parallel cases of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh demonstrate how a TED programme should not (and should) be implemented. In Orissa, the polarization between the fishing community and conservationists has prevented the introduction of TEDs, while in Andhra Pradesh, TEDs were introduced by the state Fisheries Department with appropriate demonstration and training programmes (see Shanker and Pilcher, 2003).
So, this occurrence in Andhra Pradesh is quite disheartening and speaks to the large gaps that lie between legislation, policy and implementation in India.
Cross Posted at The Olive Ridley Crawl