Problems of interaction between oil-and-gas and fishing industries on the shelf of Arctic seas Печать E-mail

Boris PRISHCHEPA, Oleg TITOV, Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography

Scale development of oil-and-gas fields, construction of platforms, terminals and pipelines, raw processing plants, the increase in the transport activity make correlation problems between oil-and-gas and fishing industries inevitably actual in the resource development of the Arctic Sea shelf.

Development of oil-and-gas fields and fossil fuels on the Barents Sea shelf touches upon traditional fishing areas. Development of carbohydrate raw material fields can lead to the decline in the environment of the commercial hydrobionts, which can cause the decrease in their abundance and their product quality and use value loss. It is possible to prevent or to minimize negative effects of anthropogenic sea pollution by means of adequate increase in the number of specialized researches and the creation of system of ecological monitoring on the Arctic shelf. The system of ecologically- commercial monitoring carried out by PINRO in the correlation with Bergen Institute of Marine Researches (IMR) can serve as a basis for ecological monitoring.

The functional expansion of such system, inclusion of monitoring over spill and discharge of oil products, spread of waste from mining operations and other monitoring elements, involvement of knowledge, experience, financial support of interested Ministries and departments, academic institutes, accounting requirements of oil-and-gas field developers - all this is extremely actual at present. Operations within engineering- ecological survey as a part of complex marine engineering survey for projecting objects of SGCM development on TEO stage (project), conducted on order of "Shtokman Development AG", Co Ltd. "Frecom" and PINRO, involving in 2008 - 2010 institutes of KOLA SCIENCE CENTRE (RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES) and Roshydromet structures, can be considered as one of the first attempts to create such system.

Modern technique can commonly prevent or minimize effects from anthropogenic influence in the certain area of surface, sea or even a living organism. The direct damage, caused by area pollution or death of bioresources can be compensated. Compensation can be both financial and restorative (e.g. reservoir cleaning or production of bioresources). However, this can lead to positive results only in the case of instantaneous impact and observation of damage and the effects from the influence of direct or cumulative pollution will be obvious over a long period.

The monitoring over the state of environment and the short-term forecasting "where oil spill will flow" is obvious enough. The same refers to the implementation of measures on damage repair. However, how shall we interpret the situation when there is no evident damage or pollution, and e.g. cod fishery in the area of possible influence from objects of oil-and-gas infrastructure is impossible as there is no as such? What is it - a phenomenon, depending on the normal conditions of the environment or the result of cumulative anthropogenic impact, caused their change? The answer can obviously be taken only on the basis of multiplex comparison of the current situation and a retrospective one which is the basis of commercial forecasting.

PINRO has developed several forecasts of various lead time. In the process of forecast praparation seasonal trend of meteorological and oceanological conditions is estimated, years with similar characteristics are selected for determination of analogs (years-analogs). Moreover, fluctuations in size and structure of stocks of certain species are considered on the basis of obtained fishery data, death of bioresources on different reasons, recruitment accounting conditions of the current year and situation of supposed development, food supply. Analogs are selected for certain areas and seasons.
We think that analog method used in PINRO practical activity can serve as a basis for estimation of impacts on the environment and biota in the case of the most real situations appearing at non-disastrous, local, "normal" episodes of chronic marine pollution in the process of production and transport of carbohydrate raw material.

The aim of environmental activity of fishery, interested in conservation of quality of aquatic environment and bioresource potential is expressed in minimization of environmental damage and compensation of damage to water bioresources.

In our opinion artificial reproduction of commercial hydrobionts as a means to compensate damage from economical activity on the shelf in favor of water biological resources is the most preferable from legal, scientific, technical and financial viewpoints. We think that the development of technologies for grazing reproduction of the most valuable for the Barents Sea commercial objects, such as Atlantic cod and red king crab can be started even presently.

Murman coastal area has favorable conditions for the development of artificial reproduction of fish and invertebrates. Development of gas-condensate and other fields of fossil fuels on the shelf of the Barents Sea give financial ground for construction of aqua-sectors on the bays of Murman. The release of young cod and crab to their habitat will support the abundance of their populations on a certain level and decrease a negative anthropogenic effect from commercial development of the shelf.

The state of the Barents Sea ecosystem is mostly specified by climate variations. The most obvious variations occur in the process of geographic redistribution of commercial objects in the sea area and observation of new fish species, traditionally inhabiting warm Atlantic waters.

Existing scenarios of climate variations show a high probability of warming to be remained. In this case, according to viewpoint of many experts, in two decades the area of Shtokman field and the northern part of main pipelines connecting the field and the Kola Peninsula can become the area of active fishery. In this regard, current variations in the Barents Sea ecosystem and adjacent areas should be studied at present and possible scenarios of influence from climate variations on fishery should be prepared taking into account the development of oil-and-gas raw material production on the Arctic shelf.

Experience from recent years indicates the fact that there is a necessity to establish relationships between oil-and-gas and fishery industries, to take into account mutual interests and needs. We hope that understanding of this necessity will be steady and in future will help to preserve Arctic Seas as clean and abundant as they are now.



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