Sea Alarm attended the 12th HELCOM RESPONSE meeting on 17-19 February in Helsinki. During this meeting the Response Group approved a formal HELCOM recommendation on wildlife preparedness and response, prepared by Sea Alarm, Estonia and WWF Finland. The proposed recommendation encourages HELCOM Contracting Parties to develop national oiled wildlife response plans and describes best practice and key elements to take into consideration when developing these plans. If the recommendation is formally adopted by the HELCOM Ministerial meeting, HELCOM Contracting Parties would then be urged to implement it through their national legislation. Hugo Nijkamp was also able to present a report on the outcomes of the Baltic workshop held in October 2009. The results of this workshop met with a positive response, and the Group then agreed that a specific work programme on oiled wildlife response should be developed, which would take the workshop recommendations into account.
This builds on HELCOM’s earlier work to include oiled wildlife response in their procedures for countries to request assistance from one other during an emergency. The updated HELCOM Response Manual, which was published in December 2009, would come into play during a serious incident where a large number of animals were affected and local resources would be overwhelmed. Sea Alarm are very pleased to see HELCOM Response’s increasing efforts to help Baltic States get better prepared for oiled wildlife incidents.