The success of any response to an oiled wildlife incident is strongly dependent upon the ability of national parties, such as the oil spill response authorities, the wildlife response authorities, wildlife responders and scientific institutes, to cooperate with one another under stressful circumstances.
For the relevant parties to cooperate successfully, certain elements need to be in place, including agreed objectives, an agreed strategy, and an agreed organizational structure in which all key responders fit in. Although these elements can be put in place in the immediate aftermath of an incident, there are potential risks to this approach. For example, it may not be possible to arrange meetings in which all parties can participate, or participants of a meeting may not be able to reach an agreement on key issues, or nobody dares to take the responsibility for the decisions that need to be taken, or something else may not work.
Pre-spill planning is the best guarantee that the objectives and strategies are clear, and that an identified management team can quickly mount an effective response with the necessary resources.