Date ArticleType
8/17/2018 Member News
Groups fear oil exploration will hurt giant prehistoric fish

Groups fear oil exploration will hurt giant prehistoric fish

Oil exploration could put a prehistoric fish species at risk, according to conservationists.

Around 30 coelacanths live off the east coast of South Africa. Bright blue, older than dinosaurs and as heavy as an average-sized man, they are the most endangered fish in the country.

Now Rome-based energy groups Eni SpA wants to drill several deepwater oil wells in the area, but conservation groups are pressing back.

"The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 decimated fish populations — so if we had an oil spill off iSimangaliso, it is very likely it could wipe out these coelacanths," said Andrew Venter, the CEO of Wildtrust.

Wildtrust and other conservation groups are trying to get South Africa's protected ocean areas expanded.

The project's environmental impact assessment said coelacanths probably wouldn't be found next to the first exploration wells.

"Eni always applies the highest operational and environmental standards, which often exceed local compliance regulations," the company said.