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Sea Creatures Keep Kozmino Bay Clean

Date of publication: 20 August 2021

Environmentalists at Kozmino oil port have released ten thousand species of Japanese scallop into the water area of Nakhodka Bay. The environmental project has been implemented entirely at the Company's expense and on its own initiative since 2017.

As the small-size vessel Laminaria approaches Cape Krylov, the oil port ecologists are closely examining the water area. Soon they’ll release 10,000 scallop species into the sea. The place for releasing bio resources into their natural habitat was not chosen by chance.

"The area around the cape is noted for good water exchange while the seabed and depth suit scallops well; moreover, the area is carefully protected," explains Elena Kostina, head of the Transneft Kozmino Port’s hydro-biotechnical facilities maintenance section. "It is this factor that was decisive in choosing the location, as in today's realities scallops released as part of artificial breeding are quickly caught by poachers."

Comfortable and safe habitat conditions allow the mollusks to reach reproductive age quickly and for many years participate in replenishing natural populations, according to the Company’s expert. Incidentally, the life expectancy of this species can exceed 20 years. To improve the survival rate of released scallop juveniles, they were kept in cages at a mariculture site for a week after transportation.

“This year, we’ve delivered juveniles from afar, namely from Khasansky District. If the delivery takes more than 12 hours, quite often species are "stressed" and low mobile when released. At this time, they cannot run away from predators, as it takes time for them to adapt. It is important that our scallops have adapted in nurseries first, and the transportation time from the mariculture site to the release location was no more than 10 minutes," Kostina comments.

The environmental event was organised by the oil port in accordance with the Biodiversity Conservation in the Areas near Transneft’s Facilities Programme for 2020-2021. Overall, 50,000 species have been released into Nakhodka Bay, the Sea of Japan, since 2017. The average weight of scallop juveniles is five gram plus and they are one-year-old. In as little as a year or two in its natural habitat, the scallop will have reached the spawning stage and will be able to increase its population.  Japanese scallops belong to the scallop family; the species is one of the most commercially valuable invertebrates. In Russia, the largest number of scallops inhabit the Far East seas.

"Natural anomalies which have become more frequent in recent years also affect natural hoards. In 2020, Typhoon Maysak caused huge damage to coastal communities. And in 2021, an abnormal heatwave arrived. The scallop is a rather cold-loving species, and as soon as the water temperature reaches 22 degrees, it gets distressed and its growth slows down. At 25-26 degrees C, the clam may die. In the Amur and Ussuri Bays, as well as Nakhodka Bay, large numbers of Japanese scallop have died in shallow waters this summer. In this regard, the regular participation of our Company in artificial reproduction programmes is becoming more and more relevant," Kostina underscores.

In addition to juveniles released into Nakhodka Bay, similar work has been performed at Kozmino Oil Port's own mariculture site. More than 35,000 young scallops from the 2020 generation, bred and grown at the Company's own farms in Kozmino Bay, have been released into their seabed garden. The Company is also growing scallops at its mariculture site within another programme of integrated environmental monitoring.

Marine organisms are needed by oil port ecologists to obtain reliable information on the water body status near the oil terminal. For more than a decade, the mariculture site has successfully been operating, and observations carried out there and in its surroundings confirm the favourable environmental status of Kozmino Bay.

Non-stop works are under way in the mariculture site from spring to autumn. "During this period, we maintain the hydro-biotechnical facilities while lifting, cleaning and repairing installations, replanting different-aged scallops to reduce their density, putting up collectors to pick juvenile hydrobionts. And in autumn the site is to be prepared for winter,” says Kostina.

The port also monitors other valuable hydrobionts – inhabitants of the Far Eastern seas. These are bay mussel, Japan sea tangle, Sea urchin and king crab. Experiments are being carried out with castaria ribbed algae, bivalve mollusks, Californian cockle and ascidia purpurea.

The ecologists of Kozmino oil port have demonstrated that operational activities and benign environment are compatible things. Environmental safety in the eponymous bay is ensured in full compliance with the requirements of the Russian legislation and international standards.

For reference: 2021 has been pronounced the Year of Science and Technology in Russia. August is dedicated to climate and environmental issues. The thematic month is curated by Transneft.

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