Every year since the 1980s, thousands of olive ridley turtles die entangled in fishing nets used by mechanised boats or trawlers along the Indian coast. The numbers are particularly staggering along the Odisha coast where they congregate for arribada or mass breeding. The spectacle of hundreds of dead turtles washed ashore makes news every breeding season.
The species and its habitat are protected under green Acts. The Orissa Marine Fisheries Regulation Act (OMFRA) restricts trawling in the near-shore waters. Yet, tardy enforcement allows the killings to continue. On top of that, nesting beaches are being damaged by casuarina plantations promoted by the forest department itself. There is little effort to protect these sites from artificial lighting that disorients turtles and ends up killing hatchlings.