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BankWatch.Org: Fight to defend the grey whales is not over

31 July 2007

Yesterday the participants of WWF whalewatching expedition returned to Moscow from Sakhalin.The preliminary results gathered during the expedition revealed that most likely construction works have rendered negative impacts on grey whales.

In the immediate future WWF in partnership with other organizations is planning to analyze various data on this problem and to make the final conclusion.

The main objective of WWF expedition was to reveal earlier possible the negative impacts on grey whales during the *Piltun-Astohskaya-B* (*Sakhalin-2* project) platform construction and to notify the company and State institutions about this influence.

Members of the expedition team completed the task successfully. On the 30th June, an alarm signal had been submitted in connection with movement of the whales from that place where they were observed earlier, prior to the beginning of active works on a platform. This signal has been heard and *Sakhalin Energy* and Rosprirodnadzor (Russian Nature Supervision instance). The company has operatively led an investigation into the situation and on the 6th July presented the data of the acoustic monitoring to ecologists and declared that influences on grey whales have not been rendered.

However these data show that since June, 29th the noise level at certain time intervals exceeded allowed (according to the criteria offered by the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel) about that the World Conservation Union made a statement on the 20th July.

http://www.iucn.org/en/news/archive/2007/07/20_pr_whale.htm

The indisputable fact is that the company statement regarding construction PA-B did not show any anomalies in the distribution and behavior of grey whales.

Changes in the grey whales distribution and density in the water areas, displacement of animals to the south and to the north that began on the 29th June, and continued till July, 10th can testify to negative impacts of construction work on whales, said Natalya Illarionova, the head of WWF expedition.

In the help to WWF efforts in monitoring the situation on fodder area of Piltun, Scanex has organized operative space monitoring for ship moving around of platform PA-B

http://www.scanex.ru/ru/company/default.asp?submenu=about&id=project1

*Using radar space images we could determine the location of *squadrons* of ships involved into works on PA-B operatively specified problems for our field group*, says Aleksey Knizhnikov the WWF Russia oil and gas officer – now, starting comparison and the analysis of various data for a final estimation of influence on whales, space images we will help us very much.

For additional information please contact WWF Russia press-secretary Darya Kudrjavtseva tel. (495) 727 0939 e-mail: [email protected] or WWF Russia communications assistant Maria Vinokurova Tel. (495) 727 0939 e-mail: [email protected]

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