Some questions were answered but the Kamchatka issue is still on the table
What is going on
Kamchatka Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (KamchatNIRO) published quantitative and qualitative phytoplankton samples analysis. The samples had been collected offshore East Kamchatka in the time period from late September to late October. The data shows a high level of microalgae some of which are capable of producing toxins. But the case is not even about the toxic contamination rather than the extreme density of microalgae cells. Some samples show an overall concentration of microalgae species as high as 656 thousand cells per liter. Scientists say that the blooming led to a depletion of the oxygen dissolved in seawater. Oxygen deficiency caused the death of benthic organisms. But what had been the factor causing the algal bloom? This is a question yet to be answered.
What is WWF-Russia about to do
It is still possible to figure out the real causes of the abnormal algal bloom. The research needs to continue and qualified scientific assessment is needed as well. The climate change issued in Kamchatka and in surrounding waters remains essential.
WWF-Russia will continue monitoring the situation, assessing all new research data which can draw light on the causes of the environmental crisis. WWF-Russia keeps updating an interactive map showing the exact places where samples of soil, water, and biomaterials were collected.
What is to be done in the future
The environmental crisis revealed a serious issue that concerns not only the Kamchatka region but the whole country. The lack of a preventive environmental monitoring system is now obvious. And establishing such a system ensuring the cooperation of government agencies of all state levels and environmental organizations should now become the highest priority.
In close cooperation with the regional administration, scientific and public organizations, WWF-Russia will work on establishing a system of public environmental monitoring, which should ensure the safety of Kamchatka's pristine nature.
Photo in the preview – © Yuri Kislyak / WWF-Russia
Photo in the head – © Julia Kalinicheva / WWF-Russia