Quest for oil decimates Arctic whale habitat

Controversy as Iceland resumes fin whale huntA study of the habits of indigenous Arctic whales has revealed their habitat is being eaten up by the never-ending thirst for oil and gas. The study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that the traditional areas of the Arctic Sea inhabited by the whales are being encroached upon by gas and oil companies.

The Nunatsiaq News reported WWF Arctic whale expert Peter Ewins claims data collated by the researchers shows that more than half of the whales’ habitat is under threat. He explained that the zones were of interest or were being used by oil, gas and shipping operations.

Ewins published the study results in the WWF affiliated journal Marine Policy. He stated that the report was trying to warn people that industrial development had a price and that extracting oil and gas could be risky for the marine environment of Greenland and the Arctic Sea.

The whale expert continued by saying the WWF was not against development per se. He added that any activities needed to be carefully planned so they would not upset the region’s delicate marine environment.

Ewins was one of the whale specialists who collated the data on the habits of the narwhales, belugas, bowhead whales and the other 10 species that spend all or part of the year in the Arctic. The researchers say more investigations also need to be conducted to determine the impact the intrusions have on the whales.