Plans For Oil Excavation at The Kamchatka Shelf Pose Threat to Fisheries
Non-governmental organisations consider that such exploratory drilling can be allowed only in the areas which are not of high importance for fisheries. “Corcerns of environmental organisations in relation to extremely high risks for marine areas caused by excavation and transport of oil have serious background, - says Alexei Knizhnikov, coordinator of WWF Russia policies in oil and gas sector. – Currently there are no technologies in the world that can be considered efficient in cleaning up oil spills in such harsh climate and natural conditions. This is one of the reasons why we are so sure, that all areas important for fishing shall be completely closed for oil exploration developments”.
Specially Protected Natural Areas (SPNAs) shall be designated urgently, at latest by the end of 2008, in all ecologically and economically most important areas of West Kamchatka shelf. These SPNAs shall at least have the status of “fisheries sanctuary”, or preferably even higher SPNA rank. “In our opinion the areas like Western Kamchatka require special protection because of their extremely high biological productivity, - states Konstantin Zgurovsky, coordinator of WWF Russia Marine Programme. – It is almost 25% of the total national catch of fish and other marine resources, that comes from Western Kamchatka, and the special status of such important areas shall be indeed legally recognised”.
In the letter addressed to Prime-Minister Victor Zubkov, to the Chair of the Council of Federations Sergei Mironov, and to the Speaker of State Duma Boris Gryzlov, NGOs call for development and introduction of a Law that shall set priorities for sustainable use of marine biological resources in these areas, and limit the other economic activities which pose threat to environment and to fish resources, that are so crucially important for food safety in our country.