Protecting Ocean Habitat

A sea spider in a marine protected area off Scotland. PHOTO: JNCC

An energy company wants to build a pipeline to export gas from the UK that would cut through the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt, a UK Marine Protected Area. ELAW is working with UK partners at Uplift to review short-sighted plans for the proposed Cambo Oil Field.
The New York Times reports that the Cambo oil field in the North Sea has produced some of the largest oil and gas finds in British waters in recent years and has become “a crucial test case for the British government, environmental groups and the oil industry.” Meanwhile, the Sponge Belt is home to rare, deep-sea sponge habitat, known as “cheesy-bottoms” by fishers, and ocean quahogs, a type of clam that can live for hundreds of years, making it one of the oldest living animals on Earth.
ELAW Staff Scientist Dr. Heidi Weiskel reviewed the environmental impact assessment of the proposed Cambo Oil Field. BBC News reported Heidi’s findings:
“A review from the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide warned that the project ‘could jeopardise hundreds of species over several decades, as well as livelihoods.'”
Tessa Khan, director of Uplift said: “The UK government needs to act on the twin climate and biodiversity crises and say no to the Cambo oil field. Scientists are warning that there can be no new oil and gas developments – not here, not anywhere – if we want a livable climate, and construction of the pipeline and potential leaks could have devastating consequences for this sensitive underwater world. We will pursue all means available to us and Scottish authorities to ensure that this marine habitat remains protected from oil and gas exploration.”
We will keep you posted on our work in the UK and around the world to protect the global climate and ocean ecosystems from the devastating effects of burning fossil fuels.
Find more information in the following:
Oceanographic, Issue 21
Controversial Cambo oil field endangering MPA

Daily Mail, November 9, 2021
Environmental campaigners warn new oilfield off the coast of the Shetland Islands could threaten hundreds of deep sea species

BBC News, November 8, 2021
Cambo oil field project ‘could jeopardise deep sea life’

Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide