Ecologists ask Putin to suspend oil extraction at Kamchatka shelf
The Committee for Conservation of West Kamchatka Shelf that includes such organizations as WWF, Association of Kamchatka Indigenous Peoples and the Kamchatka League of independent experts sent an appeal to the Government of Russia requesting that the revision of License Agreement for Western Kamchatka shelf is suspended in order to reduce the threat to fish resources from oil development.
NGOs believe that exploration and extraction of oil resources should not take place at the Kamchatka until the moment the Law “On the status and zoning of the Sea of Okhotsk” is developed and approved. This Law will provide for identification and legal recognition of areas important for fisheries at the West Kamchatka shelf where any work for exploration and development of carbohydrates will be banned.
Ecologists also stress the need for designation of an effective protected areas network in the coastal areas of West Kamchatka; besides the territories of traditional land-use of aboriginal people should be legally defined and designated.
“Our Appeal has been supported by over 9000 people, and collection of signatures still continues. We are sure that the further plans for development of carbohydrates resources at the Sea of Okhotsk shelf, as well as entire infrastructure development in Kamchatsky krai adjacent to West Kamchatka shelf can be implemented only after large-scale public debates and after public support to this plans is obtained”, - state ecologists in the Appeal.
“There are no seas in the world where exploration, excavation and transportation of oil does not lead to degradation of marine biological resources. Caspian Sea in this respect is a “good” example for CIS citizens; shelf of the Sakhalin is the next in this line, and we really do not want the unique West Kamchatka shelf to develop towards the same sad future, - says Alexei Knizhnikov, Head of WWF Russia Programme for Environmental Policy in Oil and Gas Sector. - Therefore were are active in the Government of Russia defending not only the interests of wild nature, but also the interests of out citizens who must retain the right for Salmon fishing and who should have salmon and red caviar on their table not only today, but also tomorrow.”
There are protected natural areas (PAs) inland, and all oil companies respect that nature here within terrestrial PAs is untouchable. In the marine areas designation of protected areas is legally possible only within the narrow 12-mile zone of territorial sea waters; therefore WWF is struggling for adoption of the Law on special status for the Sea of Okhotsk. This will allow subdividing and allocating specific marine areas for different types of resource exploitation introducing different management regimes.