Jacques Cousteau, the inimitable marine explorer once said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” The Oil and Gas Industry, Port Authorities, and Coastal Developments certainly appear to be taking their environmental responsibilities more seriously in recent times. An indication of this is evident in the continued growth of the locally based, Five Oceans Environmental Consultancy.
Having its origins in 1996, founding directors Simon Wilson, Rob Baldwin and Dawood Al Wahaibi, all marine environment experts, and fisheries specialists, the team now includes a business development manager in Kris Vallancy, a specialist in environmental marine law, and strategic planner, with Oliver Taylor focusing on fisheries, monitoring and management, while Ian Benson specializes in monitoring marine activity, ecology, and physio-chemical surveys.
Given the knowledge of this management team, Five Oceans is uniquely placed to provide support to both government, and private sectors, and with more than twenty years of experience, appears well placed to work effectively across a diverse range of environmental issues, involving not only the oil and gas industry, but a range of other marine and coastal industries. It stands somewhat as a gatekeeper, reflecting an oft held sentiment that, “When it comes to marine life, our existence depends upon its existence.”
They do so by assisting clients to effectively meet statutory environmental requirements through environmental impact assessment reports, and formulating action plans, risk assessments, ongoing management and support, contingency planning, and education and training, are just some avenues of Five Oceans response to assisting industry players to meet the challenges of offshore oil and gas production. The company also provides services in applied conservation research.
Prominent on the management team in terms of published research and academic presentations, is Rob Baldwin, Managing Director, and world renowned marine specialist.
Like his colleagues, Baldwin is vastly experienced in coastal zone management, but is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the region’s larger marine cetacean species. He is an in-demand public speaker, and will feature at the Oman Natural Heritage Lecture, at the Royal Geographic Society in London, on October 17, 2017.
Turtles, dolphins and whales are Baldwin’s ‘pet’ subjects, but he has risen to the peak of international renown based on his observations of the once frequently, now more rarely sighted, Arabian Sea humpback whales.
An active global conservationist, it was once written of Baldwin that he “makes it his business to get involved,” and again, during October of this year he will take the issues that concern him to the Royal Geographic Society, in London, alongside Oman-based environmentalists Suaad Al Harthi from the Environment Society of Oman, and Aida Al Jabri from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.
Five Oceans’ growing experience in the Gulf and Red Sea, coupled with use of new technology, from drones and sea gliders to satellite tracking devices and advanced GIS, signals yet further expansion of its marine environmental capacity, and nods to even greater potential. The continued growth of this marine consultancy, and the impressive response to environmental concerns by the oil and gas industry throughout the Sultanate and the greater Middle East region, serve as reminders of how conservation can be effectively embraced.
Omanis in the United Kingdom, who would like to attend the Oman Natural Heritage Lecture, at the Royal Geographic Society in London, on October 17, and hear Rob Baldwin, Suaad Al Harthi, and Aida Al Jabri speak, can obtain their free tickets from Dr Nigel Winser at the event website, www.bit.ly/oman181017