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November 16, 2015


Illegal Shrimp Farms on Chilika Lake Face Legal Action and Demolition




In its bid to free Chilika Lake from the illegal shrimp farms that continue to strangle the brackish water lagoon, the Odisha State Government, for the first time, is contemplating legal action against the farms.


Thus far, the State Government has been demolishing the illegal shrimp farms, but they get back in business almost immediately.  To prevent that, the Government has decided to file lawsuits against the farm owners under the Odisha Marine Fishery Regulation Act (OMFRA), which prohibits shrimp farming in restricted areas like Chilika Lake.




Currently over 13 percent the lake’s surface is covered by illegal shrimp farms, about 11,700 hectares, 75 percent of them in Puri District, 20 percent in Ganjam District and 5 percent in Khurda District.


Apart from demolition drives, Odisha’s Chief Secretary advised that the farm owners be repeatedly charged under the OMFRA Act and penalized so that they don’t restart their farms.  Proliferation of shrimp farms not only disturbs the ecosystem, it causes pollution and affects the livelihoods of local fishermen.


The Puri District administration has been asked to invoke the OMFRA Act to charge the farm owners with a crime.  In addition, the Chilika Development Authority has been directed to provide two to three barge-mounted excavators to demolish the farms.  The nets and the bamboo poles recovered during the operation will be destroyed to prevent re-use.  A sum of $30,000 will be provided to the Puri District administration for those operations.


Ganjam District has been instructed to clear Palur Canal of encroachment.  Shrimp farms there will be demolished on a “war-footing” using barge mounted excavators.  The Khurda District administration has also sought a similar excavator for removal of unauthorized shrimp farms.


Shrimp News: I’ve been reporting on the shrimp farming problems on Chilika Lake since 1993, but the encroachment of shrimp farms never gets corrected.  This time, however, it appears that the illegal farms will be permanently removed.


Source: The New Indian Express.  Illegal Prawn Gheris to Face Penal ActionSiba Mohanty.  November 15, 2015.

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