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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Gray whale news from off Sakhalin

Earlier in the year I featured a Japanese report of the entanglement and death of a western gray whale off the north eastern coast of Japan.

Entanglement is by no means the only threat this population is struggling with. Reuters has an update on the issue of noise disturbance in the western pacific gray whale's feeding ground:
Noise from a Russian gas field in the Pacific Ocean is driving the endangered grey whale away from one of its few feeding grounds, says the WWF environmental group.


... construction work at a Russian gas project is forcing them away from their natural habitat.
A spokesman for the Sakhalin Energy project had this to say:
"The acoustic monitoring buoys detected no unusual noise and at no time did noise levels at the outer edge of the feeding area exceed the action criteria levels" ...

Sakhalin Energy is ready to share and discuss data with environmentalists, he said.

WWF's full press release is here.
* * *

IWMC World Conservation Trust also featured this issue in their February 2007 edition of sustainable eNews.

* * *

UPDATE 07/06: Sakhalin Energy's homepage has more information from their perspective. A meeting of the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel was apparently held in April:
The specialists participating in the Sakhalin Energy -ENL WGW study who also took the floor at the meeting, noted that the offshore construction works carried out in summer 2006 to connect the shore with the Molikpaq and PA-B platforms in the framework of the Sakhalin II Project had no detectable adverse impact on Gray Whales distribution and behavior in the Piltun foraging area.
This contrasts quite strongly with the impression given by WWF.

There is little mention in the IWC Scientific Committee's report of this meeting or it's findings.

WWF is to be congratulated for their interest in this issue although members of the public will likely be scratching their heads with regards to who's story they ought to believe.


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