Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Oil surveys endangered whales"

Saturday, July 16, 2011
12 July 2011 last update at 08:31 am Richard Black by Richard Black environment correspondent, BBC News, Jersey Gray whales, AP restrictions put on development are not enough, oil and gas exploration in the East urged delegates continue to threaten whales, warned delegates at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The critically endangered western population of gray whales spends his summer feeding on Sakhalin Island.

Companies use seismic weapons to find oil and gas in the area take steps to reduce the impact; but with the IWC scientists say they have to do more.

Surprising new evidence emerged on the Whale migration.

Locator map of Sakhalin (Image: BBC)

Western-based gray (or grey) one of the most endangered group of whales on the planet, with only about 130 is staying, including an estimated 26 breeding females.

A small area on the coast of Sakhalin is their only known feeding ground.

The IWC Scientific Committee recommended that "appropriate surveillance and control plans" for oil and gas exploration in the area should be implemented.

It called also companies with independent scientists "coordinate seismic surveys and other noise producing activities".

Make a noise for seismic surveys, which make use of underwater sound intensities with it, which can force that whales from the area in the vicinity and can damage your hearing.

After last year's IWC meeting letter a group of 12 countries, one in the Russian Ministry of natural resources and the environment are pushing the displacement of a large survey for at least a year.

However, the survey for a local branch of the huge Rosneft Corporation, went ahead.

Observers from non-governmental organizations report, that measurement are not always developed within rules, keep impact on whales - for example, by detonating the seismic weapons at night, if ships could not tell, whether all whales in the vicinity were minimized.

In the days immediately after to see the surveys reported less whales in nutrition.

Express concern about the situation on the this year's IWC meeting, which were United States and UK between the Governments expressed and calls Russia take tougher action.

And Belgium said delegate Alexandre de Lichtervelde, plans for the development of infrastructure at the site were premature.

"We are concerned that one of the companies (Sakhalin Energy) has announced a plan for a new oil and gas offshore platform," he told the meeting.

"This is done while she not fully assessed full impact of the events in 2010."

Valentin Ilyashenko, head of Russian delegation here, said that that all oil and gas projects had to go through an impact assessment; but some effects on the whales could not be avoided.

"Human activities have influence; the Western gray whale" Our task is to minimize the impact of human activities, "he told BBC News."

"But we can't stop [human] progress, and we can't stop with oil."

Wal a surprise

Last year, scientists tried to add to their route tracks to their breeding grounds probably further south the tags on 12 Western gray whales.

Gray whale sighted off Herzliya MarinaThe gray whales who believe Med entered in the last year and scientist, died probably

It was thought that if their flight path could be associated with, other conservation measures, as she could be created of fishing gear.

At the end was just a day before the time ran that scientists dubbed "Flex" - set to a male.

A few weeks later, Flex, the researchers completely surprising, heading, on the other side of the Pacific to the US West Coast land running not South, but North and East.

This is the area through the separate besetzten-and much larger - Eastern gray whale population. Genetic studies show that the two populations generally do not cross.

"It was completely the opposite of what each of us had suspected," said Greg Donovan, the IWC head of science.

"So we began to look at photos from the catalog of our animals on the island of Sakhalin and compare with the measures for the Pacific coast of the United States and continue South."

"And we have now ended up with 10 animals seen on both sides."

This means for our understanding of the Western gray whales or for their conservation remains unclear. Other tagging studies you are planned this year, that you may find more information.

The gray whale, which however found throws his way into the Mediterranean last year probably no light on the issue, said Mr Donovan - it probably just lost.

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