During the Year of Ecology, on the eve of the World Day of Marine Mammals Protection (Whale Day), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW's) published a Russian version of the joint report related to the conservation of the gray whale.
The report points out that it is now possible to note the signs
of a slow recovery of the population: it grew by 3-4% annually,
rising from approximately 115 individuals in 2004 to 174 animals in
2015. The report especially highlights effective collaboration
between scientists, government and non-governmental
organisations, and oil companies, primarily Sakhalin Energy, which
has allowed to develop effective measures to reduce the impact of
oil and gas offshore projects on marine mammals.
Protection of all cetacean species, not only endangered ones, is of great importance for Sakhalin Energy. The company has developed and implemented a corporate Marine Mammal Protection Plan containing measures to mitigate its impact on marine mammals during routine operations near the Piltun-Astokhskoye field. The measures include special navigation routes (corridors) and speed limits for vessels. Moreover the vessels are required to keep from the whales at a safety distance. Each vessel operating around the gray whale feeding areas has a Marine Mammal Observer on board. Annually performed comprehensive gray whale monitoring proves no negative impact on gray whales.
Gray whale in Piltun bay
English cover story at the iucn.org
20 February 2017