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Endangerment of Gray Whales

October 21st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sakhalin Island, Far East of Russia is seen as the most promising frontiers for oil exploration with estimated crude oil reserves of over 45 billion barrels. However, most companies face the challenge here because of the rigid weather and the rough seas.

Gray Whales:

If exploration takes place on the Sakhalin Island by the Russian owned and various other multinational oil companies then this might pose a threat to the population of gray whales which are found in this region. Earlier in the 19th and the 20th century some gray whales were seen in this region, however today over 130 gray whales are believed to exist. Though this is a small number of whales but they are the only alive species of its kind and are only found in this region of the world.


Oil Exploration

Since 45 billion barrels of crude is found here, oil exploration has increased over time because of which environmental groups have come into the picture to stop the exploration because of its impact upon the whales.

One major concern of exploration is the noise pollution which is generated which seen as a major problem for the gray whales

Sakhlin Energy is a joint venture which comprises of major companies such as Shell, Mitsubishi, and Mitsui. As a joint venture, all these companies have agreed to postpone their seismic testing so that they do not coincide with the peak feeding time for the whales. Agreeing with the terms of the environmental groups, Sakhlin energy also decided to relocates is planned pipeline to another location which would not disturb the whales.

However, a Russian Company by the name of Rosneft did not cooperate with the environmental group and has been working in close vicinity of the whales crucial feeding grounds. This has been an ongoing battle between the owners of the company and the International Union of Conservation of Nature. Furthermore if there is a major spill or leak then that might pose great threat to the whales and this area is also prone to powerful earthquakes.

Ways of Catching Gray Whales

Another threat to these whales is of the large fixed nets thrown by the Japanese fishermen into the sea as Japan just lies 25 miles southeast of Sakhalin. In the past, three female gray whales were caught in these nets which was a major blow to the total population of gray whales.

However, it’s just a fight against time till when companies come here for oil exploration and if the gray whales move out of this region to another place in order to be safe from being killed.




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