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Indian Coast Guard (ICG) being a multi mission maritime armed service has also been entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and protecting the maritime environment. Every year since 1991, ICG had been providing 
assistance to various Central and State authorities/agencies for protection of 
endangered species under Wild Life Act 1972 and conducts ‘Operation Olivia’ for protection of endangered Olive Ridley Turtles, which arrive on the beaches of Odisha annually from November and stay till end May for nesting.
The Olive Ridley turtles (Scientific name: Lepidochelys Olivacea) are the 
smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. These turtles are best known for their unique mass nesting, where thousands of females turtles 
come together on the same beach to lay eggs. Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years and the species is recognized as vulnerable. These turtles spend their entire lives in the ocean 
and migrate thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year. Interestingly, female turtles return to the very same beach to lay their eggs from where they first hatched.

The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-Ridley turtles in the world. WWF-India along with the fishermen 
community has been involved in protecting the Olive Ridley rookery at the mass nesting site at Rushikulaya, Odisha by fencing off the nesting area and patrolling it till hatching and ensuring a safe passage for the hatchlings to the 
sea. All species of sea turtles are hunted for their flesh and beautiful carapace. Turtle oil is used in cosmetics, while their skin is used for leather 
produce. Every year hundreds of thousands of turtles are captured, injured or killed in gill/ trawl nets, due uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches. 

Headquarters No 7, Coast Guard District (Odisha) at Paradip in coordination with State Fisheries and the Forest department conducted the 
operations which commences on 01 November 21 till 31 May 22. The operation was undertaken to provide protection to the Olive Ridley Turtles in 
the world’s largest nesting ground off Odisha coast. Various coordination meetings and awareness programme were coordinated by ICG for sensitising coastal populace and fishing community, as part of the operation. During this 
period fishing vessels/boats operating close to marine reserve area/ protected area were regularly checked by Coast Guard boarding party, for usage of Turtle Excluder Device (TED). 
ICG ships and aircraft are deployed/ tasked towards protection of turtles and to ensure that appropriate environment is provided to the turtle 
for mass nesting and to enforce the legislation promulgated by the Government on the subject. This year i.e. from 01 Nov 21 to 31 May 22, 
during the conduct of the operation, ICG ships were deployed for 216 ship days and ICG aircraft were tasked for about 313 hrs, which has helped in reduction of causalities to large extent. Five fishing boats were apprehended for violation of law. This year approximately three lakhs forty nine thousand turtle nests were reported at various sites along the Odisha coast.

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