Risk of oil spill threat to Moray Firth dolphins

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Dolphin hunting fish at Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth

The Scottish Wildlife Trust says ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil should not be allowed to go ahead in biodiversity hotspot

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9th February 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Leading environmental charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, is protesting plans for the ship-to-ship tranfer of huge quantities of crude oil in the Moray Firth, home to Scotland's dolphin population. 

The charity says Cromarty Firth Port Authority's application for a licence to perform ship-to-ship transfers in the heart of one of Scotland’s most sensitive marine regions must be declined because of the risk of oil spills.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust considers the transfer of up to 8.5 million tonnes of oil per year unacceptable. If a spill occurred, it would cause severe and long term environmental damage to the internationally protected site and the many important species that live there.

The Moray Firth boasts a range of internationally important marine life and we need to honour these recognitions by preserving and protecting the very features that make this area so special

The Moray Firth is an important biodiversity hotspot for marine wildlife, known particularly for resident populations of bottlenose dolphins, birds such as osprey, common terns, and redshank, Atlantic salmon and grey seals, all of which the proposed application would place at risk.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s marine planning officer, Dr Samuel Collin, said “Increasing crude oil activity in an area such as the Moray Firth, where the marine life is so diverse and exceptional, puts at risk not only marine wildlife but also local businesses and people that depend on and enjoy the marine environment.

“The Moray Firth boasts a range of internationally important marine life and we need to honour these recognitions by preserving and protecting the very features that make this area so special. Bottlenose dolphins, which would be at risk if the application is approved, are a much loved species in Scotland and the resident population in the Moray Firth attracts thousands of tourists to this area each year, contributing at least £4 million to the local economy.

“The risks posed by ship-to-ship oil transfers are too great to be acceptable and this application represents a step in the wrong direction for marine conservation.”