Morjim Turtle Nesting Site Conservation
Morjim is a village in the state of Goa on the Western Coast of India, and a nesting site for Olive ridley sea turtles. The site is a demarcated turtle nesting zone with protection under the The Wildlife Protection Act (1976) and the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications, 2019.
Morjim beach is situated in conflict between conservators and local villagers demanding a share of the beach that comes distressingly close to encroachment upon nesting sites. Artificial bright lights, frequent blaring of loud music, shacks operating into late hours and an ambiguous and ever-encroaching perimeter of operation drive the nesting mother away from the sites on shore. The tourist units on the beach often operate in violation of guidelines set under beach shack policy, their lack of compliance buoyed by the laxity practiced by the Dept. of Tourism in ensuring lawful functioning.
Vanashakti stands to intervene in the arbitrary human activity that could affect the natural habitat of these turtles. These include unlawful operation of Jetskis and illegitimate sand dredging vessel operating in the water.
Vanashakti monitors the beach for illegitimate activities that might affect the nesting habits of the Olive Ridley turtles, wherein we have continually notified the relevant authorities of such operations, submitted objections to their continued use and repeatedly appealed to ban such activities on the nesting beach. In the Oct of 2018, unlawful plying of Jetskis for recreational business was spotted, which was reported to the Captain of Ports and suitable action was bid. The running Jet skis could could fatally injure the female sea-turtles and disturb the incubating eggs.Subsequently, a ban on all Jetski operations was issued. Additionally, sand dredging operations were noticed on the beach mid December 2018, which began cutting through the dunes that the turtles nest on. 15 RTIs were filed inquiring the grounds licensing permissions allowed on a turtle nesting beach.
Vanashakti has also is proposed a Morjim-Sea Turtle Festival in collaboration with the Goa Forest Department to conduct workshops among tourists and citizens to create awareness on Olive Ridleys, their nesting habits, the efforts of the Forest Department to preserve their nesting sites and patterns, the hatchlings and their zoological behaviour in surviving in the vast ocean, citizen dos and dont’s and the various threats to their survival in Morjim.
A GPS-based biodiversity mapping proposal has been suggested, which would assist in determining location based threats to the turtles. Policy and Scientific recommendations will also be gathered for better equipping of conservation efforts by the Goa Forest Department.
Following the complaint and response, the Captain of Ports issued an unconditional ban on all jetskis, as did the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority.
A Morjim-Sea Turtle Festival in collaboration with the Goa Forest Department has been proposed to create awareness on Olive Ridleys,
A GPS-based biodiversity-mapping proposal has also been suggested, which would assist in determining location based threats to the turtles.