Wild Salmon Center Newsletter February 2006
Dear Wild Salmon Center Friend
The New Year has brought good news for salmon on Sakhalin Island, as well as news of emerging threats.
The Wild Salmon Center has successfully made Sakhalin's salmon rivers a focus of local and international attention. Last year the Sakhalin government took a big step in salmon conservation by designating 66 rivers as the "Wild Rivers of Sakhalin." These rivers, with a total length of 2,000km, are protected from hatcheries. This is a great win, but to ensure that these rivers are fully protected, the work is only beginning. Please see the story below for details.
Our efforts have also made salmon and watershed health a key issue of concern for lenders considering support for oil and gas development.
Indeed, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has held up financing for over two years because of environmental concerns, and is still considering whether to support Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC).
Two weeks ago the EBRD allowed SEIC to proceed to the final stage of loan-approval—a 120 day public comment period. This decision was made despite the EBRD's own admission that the massive $20 Billion Sakhalin-2 project, which includes pipeline construction crossing over hundreds of streams and rivers, "has failed to comply with some of the EBRD's rigorous environmental procedures."
Although the final loan to SEIC for Sakhalin-2 may, in the end, be approved, it is critical that the WSC and partners work with both the EBRD and other lenders to push for environmental standards for SEIC.
The international financing community can play an important role in requiring sustainable practices to make certain that these rivers remain healthy and continue to support the local economy.
There is a lot at stake: some of the world's largest oil and gas deposits lie underneath some of the most productive rivers and marine areas in earth. The fisheries these areas support are key for the health of Asia and the Russian Far East. Our efforts will be important not just for Sakhalin-2 but for the next generation of oil and gas projects.
Meanwhile we're working to make sure that a plan is in place to deal with the aftereffects of the pipeline construction—among other things, restoration projects and anti-poaching enforcement made necessary by new roads. We continue to galvanize a broad array of industry leaders, NGOs, local community members, governmental representatives and indigenous people around salmon conservation, Sakhalin's "Wild Rivers," and our Sakhalin Salmon Initiative (SSI).
In November, WSC and our partners hosted a delegation from Sakhalin that examined successful restoration projects around Oregon, (please see below), in conjunction with the United States Forest Service, Siuslaw Institute, Sakhalin Wild Nature Fund, and the International Riverfoundation. These groups and others will implement a pilot salmon restoration project that is part of the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative and a broader effort to protect and restore rivers on both sides of the Pacific.
Our next newsletter will also focus on Russia—there's been a much expected but disquieting announcement about Kamchatka oil and gas development. We'll keep you posted, and thank you for supporting our work.
Guido Rahr, President and CEO
In response to growing threats to the rivers of Sakhalin Island, particularly the growing proliferation of hatcheries on rivers with healthy salmon runs, the Wild Salmon Center, local scientists, fishermen, and other concerned individuals appealed to the regional administration to protect Sakhalin's most important rivers. The administration turned to scientists from WSC-partner Sakhalin Institute for Fisheries Biology and Oceanography (SakhNIRO), which offered a recommended list of rivers to be prioritized for protection. Sakhalin Governor Ivan Malakhov then officially designated 66 rivers, with a total length of over 2,000km, as the "Wild Rivers of Sakhalin." The Governor's decree prohibited the building of hatcheries on these rivers. Read more...
Last November a delegation of Sakhalin Island governmental, scientific and NGO leaders traveled to the United States as part of the Sakhalin Restoration Partnership and WSC's Sakhalin Salmon Initiative. The exchange was very successful. The group saw firsthand possibilities for river restoration activities, explored the issue of environmental education, examined public and private land management in Oregon, and engaged key players from both sides of the Pacific to work toward best river practices and collaborative projectsProject History and Goals. Read more...