Gray Whale
© WWF России
Gray Whale
Russian version of the joint report related to the conservation of the gray whale
© WWF России
Russian version of the joint report related to the conservation of the gray whale

A new report released on gray whales ahead of Marine Mammals Day

Increase of gray whale numbers in Sakhalin waters points to slow recovery of the population. However, the future of the species depends on the joint efforts of environmentalists and industrial companies.

On the eve of the World Day of marine mammals - whales Day on February 19, 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 publication in Russian is dedicated to the memory of Alexey Vladimirovich Yablokov - an outstanding Russian scientist, professor, expert on marine mammals. For many years he was a member of the IUCN Council and IUCN’s Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel.

The report stresses 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 also highlights effective collaboration  between scientists, NGOs and oil companies, primarily - «Sakhalin Energy». This kind of cooperation has allowed to develop effective measures to reduce the impact of oil and gas offshore projects on marine mammals.

However, the gray whales are still in danger, which is associated with an active industrial activity of the oil and gas and fishing companies in the Far East.

According to the report, in the future strengthened cooperation between scientists and all the companies in the region, including oil and gas operators and fishing companies, will play a decisive role in the transfer of best practices and long-term protection of rare marine animals.

The western population of gray whales, the feeding area of which is located on the Sakhalin shelf, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Gray whale is also included in the Russian Federation Red Book.

The joint report of IUCN, the WWF and IFAW presents multi-year experience of work by independent advisory group of scientists under the auspices of IUCN, which has advised «Sakhalin Energy» and other actors for the last 12 years. The group of independent scientists, which is currently known as the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, IUCN established in 2004 in response to growing concern about the plans of «Sakhalin Energy» to increase production on the Sakhalin shelf.

IUCN and Sakhalin Energy have extended their collaboration until 2021.

The joint report of IUCN, the WWF and IFAW report explores the panel’s positive contribution to the company’s operations and whale conservation.  It is based on interviews with more than 20 experts and stakeholders engaged in the process.

For additional information please contact

Ludmila Lyagushkina, Press Officer of WWF-Russia,
tel: +7 (495) 727-09-39, tel/fax: +7 (495) 727-09-38, e-mail
Alexey Knizhnikov, Oil and gas programme coordinator,
tel: +7 (495) 727-09-39, tel/fax: +7 (495) 727-09-38, e-mail

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