Trap nets in the Okhotsk sea threaten rare grey whales



Posted on 22 August 2013  | 
"There’s been numerous accidents of marine mammals, including grey whales, caught in fishing nets and later reported deseased. Observers, based in the area of the lighthouse on the shore of Piltun gulf, have already registered cases where grey whales with calves came dangerously close to the nets,” writes WWF in an open letter.

Experts on the Okhotsk-korean population of grey whales agree that trap nets in those areas constitute a serious threat to grey whales, so it is necessary to remove them as soon as possible, as well as to ban fishing in the feeding areas of the whales.

"Because of ever growing activities on the shelf of Russian seas, there are also more and more threats tobiological resources and rare species", says Konstantin Zgurovsky, head of Marine program of WWF Russia. "To preserve them and to ensure their safety, a management system of Russian seas needs to be implemented as soon as possible. When this system is established, these issues by the shores of Sakhalin would be avoided.

Aleksey Knizhnikov, head of WWF Russia’s program on environmental policy of the oil and gas sector, underlines, that threats to grey whales come not only from the fishing industry, but also from the increasing oil and gas extraction projects, as well as more frequent shipping in Sakhaling waters.

"For example the operator of project Sakhalin-1 (with participation of Exxon and Rosneft), plans to build a modern wharf in the Piltun gulf, which will bring even more risks to grey whales. WWF and other NGOs appeal to the project operator to give up those plans and to use an alternative way for delivering cargo, as it was done in previous stages of the Sakhalin-1 project” – say Knizhnikov.

In their appeal to Kirillov, ecologists ask him to take urgent action to cancel the decision about setting of trap nets in certain locations of the Okhotsk sea to prevent damage to the population of important rare species.  
Gray whale hunt, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, Arctic.
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF Enlarge

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