Last Stop for the Western Gray Whale
Surrounded by a rich marine ecosystem, Sakhalin waters support the last one hundred Western gray whales in the world. The islandís river systems also provide vital spawning habitat for Pacific salmon. A large part of the regional economy depends on fisheries, including the traditional economy of the indigenous Nivkh people. Large scale offshore oil and gas development by companies such as Shell and Exxon is a serious threat, with billions of dollars being invested. Pipelines are being constructed through sensitive salmon spawning rivers and leading to severe habitat destruction. Oil tanker shipping safety is an additional concern. In addition to these polluting construction projects, environmental and indigenous groups are extremely concerned by the rampant salmon poaching on Sakhalin and anti-poaching efforts are currently underway.