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Regnum (Russia): Advisory panel to monitor influence of Sakhalin 2 project on gray whale population

Gray Whale

EXTRACT: Information: Western Gray Whales are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Thought to be extinct as recently as 1972, this remnant subpopulation living in the north-western Pacific Ocean includes only 20-25 reproductively active females. Its only known feeding grounds lie along the coast of Sakhalin Island where existing and planned large-scale gas and oil activities represent a potentially serious threat to the population’s survival.

THE ARTICLE

10/03/2006

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) convenes a new independent scientific advisory panel to monitor the impact of the Sakhalin 2 offshore oil and gas development on critically endangered Western Gray Whale population. The announcement was made at the IUCN headquarters in Geneva. Ten prominent international scientists will monitor the status of the critically endangered Western Gray Whale population in the Northwest Pacific and provide ongoing independent advice to a consortium of companies developing oil and gas reserves in the whale’s summer feeding grounds, off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East.

The World Conservation Union is convening the Panel in response to the findings of an independent report, published in 2005, on the impacts of the Sakhalin II project on the whale population and following consultation with the oil industry and the conservation community.

According to the IUCN release, received by REGNUM, the Panel will focus on the Sakhalin II oil and gas project being developed by Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Limited (Sakhalin Energy) and due to commence in spring 2007. Sakhalin Energy is a consortium of companies including Royal Dutch Shell and Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi Corporation.

“This Panel will help to incorporate long-term scientific findings into the design and management of oil and gas operations in the region, thereby contributing to the conservation and recovery of one of the world’s critically endangered giants,” said Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of the IUCN Global Marine Program.

The Panel is established for a period of five years and will hold the first of a series of regular meetings in Switzerland from November 9-11, 2006. Panel members come from Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.

Information: Western Gray Whales are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Thought to be extinct as recently as 1972, this remnant subpopulation living in the north-western Pacific Ocean includes only 20-25 reproductively active females. Its only known feeding grounds lie along the coast of Sakhalin Island where existing and planned large-scale gas and oil activities represent a potentially serious threat to the population’s survival.

Permanent news address: www.regnum.ru/english/714445.html
00:07 10/03/2006

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