WWF-Russia invites Rosneft to conversation
Recently, it was announced that the Russian government plans to give Rosneft a site license to develop oil and gas fields in the western part of the Bering Sea. Two oil and gas fields, named Ilpinsko-Olyutorsky and Khatyrsky, are located near Kamchatka shore, in close proximity to protected areas.
Perspectives of oil and gas fields development in the region remain doubtful. However, the western part of the Bering Sea is highly valuable for the Russian fishing industry. The major part of aquatic bioresources fished here are valuable fish and invertebrate species like pollock, salmon, herring, halibut, crab and others. According to scientific data, the ecosystems of this part of the Bering Sea produce 750 thousand tons of fishery resources. Every other year Russian fishermen catch about 100 thousand tons of salmon here and 10% of all Russian aquatic bioresources annually.
“Negative impact on aquatic bioresources can be expected on the stage of geological exploration already,” says Alexey Knizhnikov, WWF-Russia oil and gas program coordinator.
“Seismic works can possibly cause death of young fish and disturb salmon on its migration routes. That’s exactly why we insist that Rosneft fallows the Environmental Impact Assessment with extreme responsibility.”
A year and a half ago WWF sent a letter to the oil company inviting to conversation and offering assistance regarding company’s plans of the west Bering Sea shelf development. But Rosneft did not respond to the letter.
“WWF’s experts are sure that the earlier public interest environmental groups start to discuss possible environmental risks of oil and gas exploration and development projects the higher is a chance to find a win-win solution,” the letter states.
For more than ten years, WWF runs environmental projects in the Bering Sea region. This area is highly valuable for fishing industry and the economy of Russia in general.