Shell Shocker

The very survival of a critically endangered whale population is in the hands of the oil giants Shell, and we need your help to save it.

The western Pacific gray whales cling to survival with only around 100 animals left. They breed, every summer, off the northwest tip of Sakhalin Island off Russia’s far East coast. Now, these whales face certain disaster if Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill for oil and gas in their breeding grounds get the necessary financial backing from the European Bank. Royal Dutch Shell’s Sakhalin II project is the largest integrated oil and gas project in the world, and it is seeking up to $300 million in public financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Campaign Whale is extremely concerned at the noise disturbance that oil and gas extraction will have upon such a critically sensitive area for these whales. We are also concerned at the seeming inevitability of a major oil spill in the area and the potential for fatal collisions between increased shipping and the whales.

In response to growing alarm, in February of this year Shell convened an independent panel of experts to assess the likely impact of the project. The panel concluded that the proposed offshore platforms and undersea pipelines posed a serious threat to the last 100 critically endangered Western Pacific Gray Whales. With only around 30 reproductive females left in the population the panel concluded that the loss of even one additional adult female per year "would be sufficient to drive the population towards extinction with high probability" by 2050. Yet despite this grim prediction, and gravest of warnings, the project is still going ahead.

The plight of the western grays was also raised at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Ulsan, South Korea this year. The Chair’s report said ‘The Scientific Committee has expressed great concern, over the critically endangered western gray whale. The population is small (only about 100 whales) and the only known feeding grounds lie along the north-eastern coast of Sakhalin Island, where existing and planned oil and gas developments pose potentially catastrophic threats to the population, through habitat damage, ship strikes, noise and oil spills’.

If we are to save the western gray whale it is absolutely vital that we persuade the EBRD not to finance the Sakhalin 11 project. We also need to convince Shell that the survival of the western pacific gray whale is in their hands and the world will neither forgive nor forget if they put their profits before the whales.

As a matter of urgency, Campaign Whale would like our members to write to Shell and tell them that you will not buy their products if they continue with this project.

Link to action:

James Smith
Chairman Shell UK
Shell Centre
York Rd,
London, SE1 7NA
Tel: 020 7934 1234