The Moray Firth is home to a resident population of Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise and seals: it is also visited by Minke Whales, Humpback Whales and Orca which will all be affected by a spill. It is home to a wide variety of resident and breeding sea birds and shore birds as well as numerous species of fish including salmon returning to spawn in the Rivers Ness, Nairn, Findhorn and Spey. These are important fishing rivers and an interruption, such as that resulting from a spill, will have an impact on the returning migratory fish.
From the human point of view the Firth is of great importance to the resident population who use it for work in the fishing industry and for leisure with water sports and recreational beaches. One of the major industries around the Firth is Tourism which would be impacted by beaches polluted with crude oil.
The media regularly carries reports of oil spillages from many sources around the globe and gives dramatic accounts of the devastation caused and how it takes years and years for the region to recover. I do not wish to see the Moray Firth put at such risk from a STS oil transfer accident.
A proposal similar to this for the Firth of Forth was scraped in 2008 after a risk assessment showed that the plans poised a high risk to sensitive marine life... let's make sure this is withdrawn again!
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