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  teluguportal 8 Dec 06
Fishing ban pushed Orissa fisherman to suicide

ibnlive 10 Dec 06
Whom to save--turtles or humans?

Jajati Karan CNN-IBN

Kendrapara: Environmental laws have helped save Olive Ridley turtles in Orissa's Gahirmatha marine sanctuary from extinction.

But efforts to save the turtles have dealt a death knell for local fishermen. One of the many families afflicted by the environment laws is that of 51-year-old Buddhananda Saraswati, who committed suicide on Thursday.

The only bread earner, Buddhananda had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 but could not repay it. A prosperous fisherman once, he became too poor to feed his family of eight because of the ban on fishing in the area.

"We had four boats and 23 acres of agriculture land. Now all's gone. I have lost my husband due to these turtles," says Buddhananda's widow, Basanti.

It's not Buddhananda alone. Six fishermen have committed suicide in this area over the last two years. Some have even gone insane.

In 1998, a 60 km coastline in Kendrapara and 20 km inside the sea territory was notified as Gahirmatha Marine sanctuary for the Olive Ridley turtles. Fishing was banned for five months during the turtles' nesting period. This affected over 20,000 fishermen.

But the Orissa forest department denies stopping traditional fishing. "This is a sanctuary area and so fishing is banned. But we allow traditional fishermen to fish if they do not use motor boats, which are fatal for the turtles," says Chief Wildlife Warden, S C Mohanty.

The fishermen community alleges that it has become a fashion for many environmentalists to speak for Olive Ridley turtles without addressing the fishermen problems.

They say if the situation continues, it would lead to further deaths of fishermen in future.

But the question remains--how does one save both man and the animal?

teluguportal 8 Dec 06
Fishing ban pushed Orissa fisherman to suicide

A fisherman who committed suicide in Orissa had been depressed by a ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal, his widow said Friday.

The ban against fishing in Kharinashi village - to protect the endangered Olive Ridley turtles in a wildlife sanctuary - depressed Buddhanath Saraswati and led to his death Thursday, Basanti said here.

A resident of Kharinashi in Kendrapada district, Saraswati, 51, had taken Rs.50,000 from a merchant for a future supply of fish, she said. "My husband lost his livelihood after the authorities banned fishing. Now it is difficult for me to survive along with my one son and five daughters," Basanti told IANS.

However, district fishery officer Nabaghana Rout said: "I cannot comment unless we examine the cause of the death."

The Kharinashi village is located near the Bay of Bengal where the state has banned fishing 20 km from the coast to protect an estimated 800,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles, who come every winter to Gahirmatha in the Bhitarkanika sanctuary for mass nesting.

The village is located near Gahirmatha and the fishing ban was effective Nov 1 to May 31.

"My husband was the owner of four boats. Two years back, officials seized them on charges of illegal fishing in the Bhitarkanika marine sanctuary. He sold the other two boats last year. Since then he was very upset," Basanti said.

At least 10 marine fishermen in the district have committed suicide in the past four years, the Orissa Traditional Fish workers' Union said.

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