November 29, 2010

The Price of Development: Ports Versus the Turtle Breeding Grounds of Orissa

Though Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are found throughout the world, Orissa – an eastern coastline state of India, is the single largest rookery or breeding ground in the world for these turtles which migrate from the Indian Ocean through the Bay of Bengal every year for mating and nesting. Worshipped by most small fishermen as an incarnation of one of their gods and left alone, the turtles are nevertheless caught as by-catch in gillnets or by trawlers.  How is large scale industrialisation along the coasts going to affect the turtles and the other species in the unique mudflat ecology?  One of the ports, the controversial Dhamra Port, a tie-up between Indian corporate giants Larsen & Toubro and TATA has also been the target of a Greenpeace campaign.