Wednesday, 29 April 2009

IUCN welcomes reprieve for whales

IUCN is delighted that Sakhalin Energy followed the advice of an expert panel and stopped all seismic surveys affecting the Western Gray Whale.

The Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, set up by IUCN, recommended on Friday that all oil and gas companies working just off Sakhalin Island in eastern Russia stop any activity that might harm the whales.

“The fact that Sakhalin Energy decided to listen to the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel is excellent,” said Finn Larsen, of IUCN’s Global Marine Programme. We are now calling on all other oil and gas companies operating in the same area to follow Sakhalin Energy’s lead and make the right decision for the sake of these magnificent creatures.”

There are only an estimated 120 Western Gray Whales left in the world, with 25 to 35 reproductive females. The whales come to feed in the waters off Sakhalin Island in summer and autumn, in preparation for the breeding season.

The Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel said it is extremely concerned by observations in 2008 suggesting whale distribution and behaviour have changed.

It concluded that all activities planned for 2009, including Sakhalin Energy’s seismic survey, should be postponed until the Western Gray Whale population has been fully monitored and assessed.

It added that if the monitoring in 2009 reduces the uncertainty and concern over the Western Gray Whale population, the panel may be able to accept a seismic survey in 2010.

For more information about the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, please visit:

For media enquiries, please contact:

Sarah Horsley, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0127, m +41 79 528 3486, e

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Beauty and the High Seas: Luxury beauty brand teams up with IUCN

Chantecaille, a high-end holistic beauty brand, has teamed up with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to identify ten High Seas ecosystems that require protection from the effects of fishing, climate change and other human-caused impacts.

In support of IUCN’s Global Marine Program’s high seas initiatives and the efforts being made to increase the world’s quota of marine protected areas, Chantecaille has launched a special ‘La Baleine’ collection of cosmetics, from eyeshadows to lipsticks, of which five percent of all sales will be donated to IUCN.

To mark this collaboration, Chantecaille will be holding a special event alongside IUCN’s Global Marine Program at Neiman Marcus on May 16th 2009 where guests are invited to sample the delights of La Baleine and to learn more about the high seas and marine conservation from local marine experts.

The High Seas

The largest, least-protected places on our blue planet are found in the high seas – the open ocean and deep seabed that lie seaward of individual nations’ jurisdictions.

Extending from the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica to most of the Indian, Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, these areas cover 45% of the Earth’s surface. Hidden beneath the surface of the high seas are extraordinary places that are in urgent need of our protection. Belonging to no single nation, they have been, for too long, neglected by all.

The high seas are home to great whales, sea turtle, seabirds, tunas and sharks that traverse entire ocean basins in search of food. They house deep-dwelling fishes and invertebrate animals that live long, slow-motion lives in eternal darkness. High seas ecosystems include places where great water masses meet and species congregate, as well as vast muddy plains, coral-capped seamounts, and vents that shoot hot water into the frigid depths. These places give rise to many rich and precious life forms found nowhere else on the planet.

The high seas are truly hidden treasures of our blue earth. Their loses are our losses, as they threaten the ability of the oceans to sustain marine life and support human societies.

The ten high seas sites identified by scientists from all over the world illustrate just a few of the special places that require further conservation consideration.

Make-up that is ocean deep

Chantecaille’s Baleine collection (as recently featured in Vogue and the New York Times) uses a blue whale to symbolize the plight of the high seas. These mysterious and endangered species travel enormous distances, roaming the farthest reaches on their migratory routes, as they criss-cross the high seas. Along the way, they continually experience the threat of human impacts. Hundreds of whales die each year from entanglement in fishing nets. Sonar pollution and noise from container ships and undersea drilling and exploration disorient whales, hindering their communication and causing physical damage. Thousands of whales are hunted and killed each year in spite of the official moratorium on whaling.

The Chantecaille Baleine collection is available at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Frédéric Fekkai Salons, Neiman Marcus, select Saks Fifth Avenue locations, Jeffrey New York, Space NK and online at

For more information on the High Seas visit:

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Call for case studies on MPAs and their economic benefits

IUCN is preparing to launch a press release compiling marine protected areas (MPA) case studies highlighting their economic benefits. IUCN wants to draw attention to ‘What MPAs Are Good For’ and is looking for case studies which clearly show the link between environmental protection and economic gain. For example, case studies could highlight the relationship of MPAs on increased fish catch in adjacent areas, tourism income, or shoreline protection.

Your case studies will be included in a press release which will be circulated to the international press at the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) and the 2nd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC2) in May in Washington, DC.

Please email a short abstract to Carolin Wahnbaeck (carolin.wahnbaeck [at] by Friday, 24th April. Many thanks for your contributions.