WWF 4th Expedition to Sakhalin to save grey whales
Noise produced by construction of the upper part of the oil platform (rig) may disturb feeding patterns of whales and lead to malnutrition, weakness and eventually to death, as in June whales migrate from Korean shore in the south to Sakhalin Island to feed. Female and young whales are especially vulnerable.
WWF field project will consist in monitoring whales with two theodolites, instruments used to track whales, during preparatory and main installation works on the platform. The project group will be located on the spit that separates Piltun lagoon from the sea to be closer to the source of noise pollution.
For several years, WWF-Russia, IFAW and some other environmental NGOs have been carrying out a field project to minimize negative impact of offshore oil development projects on Sakhalin on grey whales and ensure conservation of the species.
“Threats to grey whales posed by oil extraction and transportation on Sakhalin are real, which was proved by the case of Piltun river contamination by an oil spill at the Rosneft Company’s Sakhalinmorneftegaz oil field“, says Alexey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Environmental Policy Officer with WWF-Russia. “We are afraid that it can lead to Piltun bay contamination, which in turn can result in a decrease in the number of benthos, main food item of the grey whale.”