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Maharashtra: Fishermen given over Rs 40 lakh compensation in 3 years for releasing protected marine species into sea


MUMBAI: Fishermen in the coastal districts of Maharashtra have received Rs 40.78 lakh as compensation in the last three years for safely releasing 260 protected marine species, including Olive Ridley and green sea turtles, that were accidentally caught in their fishing nets, an official release has said.

This compensation is being paid as part of the scheme jointly launched by the state forest and fisheries departments in December 2018, which is aimed at conserving the rare and protected marine creatures, it said.

So far, 138 Olive Ridley turtles, 67 green sea turtles, 5 hawksbill turtles, two leatherback sea turtles, 37 deer sharks, six giant guitar fish, humpback dolphin), four finless porpoises have been released into the sea, it said.

Speaking during a programme here, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Thursday that the Mangrove Cell (Kandalvan Pratishthan) has paid Rs 40.78 lakh compensation to the fishermen who released the marine creatures back into sea, for the damage caused to their fishing nets.

The cell has done a commendable work for the protection of marine biodiversity and similar such serious efforts are needed for the conservation of biodiversity in the state, he said.

Thackeray also called for an extensive public awareness drive for this initiative.

Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the state government has undertaken ambitious steps for the protection and conservation of mangroves.

It includes mangrove subsistence creation, mangrove afforestation, mangrove nature tourism, and removal of encroachments on mangroves, among others.

Maharashtra's mangrove cover is 32,000 hectares, he said, adding that while protecting mangroves, they are being given the status of reserved forests.

The work of installing CCTVs for protection of mangroves is underway.

As a result of these efforts, the state's mangrove covered has gone up by four square kilometres as per the Indian Forest Survey Report 2021, the minister said.