Главная KEY OBJECTIVES IN CONSERVING THE BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES UNDER OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT ON THE CONTINENTAL SHELF OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Key objectives in conserving the biological resources under oil and gas development on the continental shelf of the Russian federation Печать E-mail

MISHIN V.L, TITOV O.V., PLOTITSYNA N.F. 
Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography

Development of oil and condensed gas fields on the shelf of Arctic seas, and in particular, on the shelf of the Barents Sea, is an important factor for fostering social and economic development in the Russian trans-polar regions. This strategically important task can only be achieved if ecological security on the shelf is assured and marine biological resources are preserved, which unlike oil and gas are self-sustained and therefore invaluable.

According to the Federal laws "On continental shelf of the Russian Federation”, "On inland marine waters, territorial sea and adjacent waters of the Russian Federation", and "On Exclusive Economic Zone of the Russian Federation'4 the Federal Agency of the Russian Federation on Fisheries (FAR) shall accept drafts of licenses, applications and other licensing documents submitted by FAR regional bodies for consideration and coordination with regard to regional geological study, search, exploration and exploitation of mineral resources, construction of subsurface cables and pipelines in inland marine waters, territorial sea, on continental shelf and in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Russian Federation.

The agreement on cooperation between the Federal Agency of the Russian Federation on Fisheries and Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation in the field of fisheries monitoring activity under carbohydrate development in territorial sea and on the sea continental shelf adjacent to the coast of the Russian Federation remains valid as now. Support for fisheries monitoring at all implementation stages of oil and gas development in territorial sea, continental sea shelf, adjacent to the coast of the Russian Federation and Exclusive Economic Zone of the Russian Federation is the subject of cooperation for ecological security of fishing areas. Conservation of marine living resources when exploiting hydrocarbon resources on the sea shelf is crucial for the fisheries sector.

Intensive development of oil and gas fields on the sea shelf and inland waters is one of the most powerful factors adversely affecting aquatic environment and biological resources. More then two thirds of proved and exploited fields are located in areas of increased biological production and active fisheries, where major stocks of commercial species develop and reproduce.

Major target species in the directed Russian fishery in this area are trans-boundary fish species and shellfish, which are managed by the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission: North-East Arctic cod, North-East Arctic haddock, capelin and northern shrimp. Within this group of aquatic organisms a potential target for the national fishery is red king crab. In addition, found in waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Russian Federation is plaice, polar cod and Icelandic scallop, which are managed by Russia alone.

As assessed by PINRO a potential national catch of key commercial species in the Barents Sea and adjacent waters could in 2005-2015 be between 399 000 and 639 000 t provided that there will be no industrial developments on the shelf.

Scientific evidence from studies undertaken by PINRO suggests a steady low level of man-made pollution of the Barents Sea ecosystem. Therefore, of grave concern is a potential risk of increased anthropogenic pollution of the Barents Sea posed by oil and gas exploitation on its shelf.

For preventing or minimizing the adverse effects from operations of the oil and gas complex companies it is, in the first place, required to establish an effective monitoring of operations of the oil and gas complex with regard to all aspects related to ecological security.

It is imperative, that representatives of the fisheries sector were a part of the decision making process regarding issues of relevance to protection of biological resources and their habitat at all stages of development of oil and gas fields on the shelf from a proposal put forward by proponents of an activity to closing the operations of drill platforms and other installations after the field has been exhausted.

The issue of adequate compensation of the damage caused to aquatic biological resources is much more complex than compensation of losses of many other material values and requires appropriate approaches to handle it. Lost aquatic biological resources, particularly, of valuable commercial fishes, crab and other aquatic animals with long life cycle cannot be recovered in the short-term. Even under most favorable conditions and with application of most advanced technologies this will require several years. In the meantime because of deteriorated stocks and, hence, reduced catches interests of a wide range of stakeholders, legal and physical entities, will be affected - ship owners, seamen, fishers, companies engaged with off-loading- storage, processing, transportation, wholesale and retail sales of fisheries products. Losses of biological resources will lead to job losses, growth of prices for fisheries produce, reduced consumption of seafood and. eventually, to reduced standard of living, poorer health of the population and increased social tension.

Implementing preventive measures designed to protect the biological resources when exploiting fields of hydrocarbon resources in waters where fisheries take place, appears to be most prudent and logical. These should include setting up new and developing existing hatcheries for valuable species, establishing sea culture facilities for rearing fish and other organisms, developing ranching and be implemented before the industrial exploitation of fields is initiated and at the expense of proponents. Funds contributed by the proponents should be taken into account when payments for the nature use and damage caused are calculated.

In the light of the said above and for conserving aquatic biological resources under intensive exploitation of oil and gas fields on the shelf and inland waters of the Russian Federation it is necessary:

- to examine an issue of making amendments and additions to the Federal Law "On mineral wealth" in order to include in the list of national organizations, which coordinate use conditions when issuing licenses for development of water minerals, a specialized executive body on protection, control and management of aquatic biological recourses and their habitat.

When making amendments and additions to the Federal Law "On environmental protection" it is necessary to consider following regulations:
- to require that subsoil assets users should make advance payments for taking preventive measures to protect aquatic biological resources and their habitat in areas of oil and gas development, and carry out amelioration of water bodies for fish culture;
- compensation of the damage caused to aquatic biological resources is determined taking into account all pollutants discharged into water bodies;
- State impact assessment conducted by empowered federal bodies in the field of environmental protection, including fishing impact assessment- is an integral part of the State ecological assessment.

When working out law documents to be approved by the Government of the Russian Federation it is necessary to provide for:
- a national concept of protection of aquatic biological resources under intensive industrial development of closed seas, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Russian Federation;
- ecological-fisheries requirements under oil and gas development on the sea shelf and inland water bodies.

ARCTIC SHELF OIL AND GAS CONFERENCE 2004


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