Source: SAKH.COM (an on-line news portal based in Sakhalin, Russia)
Translated from the Russian by Pacific Environment staff.

Fishermen Close Road to LNG Site

August 25, 2004 - In the Korsakov region yesterday, fishermen used large fishing nets to close a road to a liquid natural gas (LNG) plant construction site. They blame Sakhalin Energy Company in the disruption of spawning migration in the Aniva Bay, and ask for help from the "Greens," according to a press release from the organization Green Patrol.

The Kalypso Company has been fishing salmon commercially in the Aniva Bay for six years now, from the mouth of the Mereya River to the village of Nechaevka. This year, according to Kalypso's Director Nina Vlasenko, the spawning migration is worse than it's ever been. The Mereya River borders the construction site of the LNG plant. All summer polluted water has been running off plant construction platforms into the river. The Mereya is so muddied, only one solitary pink salmon has been observed spawning. In the beginning of the fishing season, ships belonging to Sakhalin Energy Company contractors tore the fishermen's central fishing net, and upon doing so, didn't pay any kind of compensation to the fishermen for this inflicted damage. But today, the Korsakov Port Captain, citing an appeal by Sakhalin Energy's management, ordered the removal of all fishing nets from the bay.

According to Nina Vlasenko, this order was a complete surprise to them. They received quotas and ran a legal commercial fish business. Nevertheless, the Port Captain announced that the company's territory of commercial activity now includes the port, and fishing here is now prohibited. The nets were ordered removed within twenty-four hours. When Vlasenko told the fishermen, they independently decided to block the LNG factory road with cars loaded with fishing nets.

The fishermen's act of protest continued for an hour. In that time, a kilometer-long traffic jam formed. The directors of the Kalypso Company came to the fishermen immediately. They urged the fishermen to remove the obstruction, and promised on behalf of the company to compensate them for their losses and pay their wages. Representatives of Sakhalin Energy Company and their subcontractors, CTSD Limited ? the LNG plant construction workers ? did not emerge to meet the striking fishermen.

As Vlasenko noted, they no longer believe in the possibility of a peaceful means to manage the conflict with the oil company. The fishermen talk about an indefinite hunger strike, and insist on organizing a picket of the Sakhalin Energy offices. Kalypso has been trying for seven months to have an open dialogue with Sakhalin Energy, without any results. Now they are seeking other paths to justice. "We are hoping for the support of the 'green' nongovernmental organizations, since they are the only ones trying to help us and attract society's attention to our problems," said Vlasenko.