Baltic countries are continuing their commitment to improving oiled wildlife response through the HELCOM Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWG-OWR),and most, recently via an online seminar on the role of euthanasia within oiled wildlife response.
The first half of the year has been promising for the recognition of oiled wildlife preparedness and response as a priority in Europe. In May, Sea Alarm participated in important meetings organised by the Bonn Agreement and REMPEC where this topic was raised.
The first half of the year has seen Sea Alarm and EUROWA-2 project partners make a start on a wide range of activities which will result in big strides forward in European oiled wildlife preparedness.
We are very pleased to report that the EUROWA-2 project will begin in January, marking an important milestone in development of oiled wildlife preparedness in Europe. EUROWA-2 will be a 2-year project co-funded by the European Commission’s Civil Protection Financial Instrument.
Network is a word that is used a lot nowadays, but what is a network? For Sea Alarm, it is a group of organisations and/or individuals with a common interest working together. We have a strong belief that by cooperating and striving towards common goals, a well-coordinated network can grow to be stronger than the sum of its parts (in other words, its individual members).
In February 2020, Sea Alarm’s Hugo Nijkamp attended the 27th HELCOM Response meeting in Vejle, Denmark where the integration of all aspects of at sea response, shoreline response and wildlife response was a key topic.
In September, Sea Alarm, in cooperation with WWF Poland, presented a National Workshop on Oiled Wildlife Response Planning in Poland, followed by a EUROWA Basic Response training.
In June 2019, EURopean Oiled Wildlife Assistance (EUROWA) Network members, and interested potential members, met in Ostende to strengthen their cooperation and define the decision-making structure which will support EUROWA’s function in European oil spill response and preparedness.
In April 2019, sixteen veterinarians from seven European nations attended a course in Ostend, Belgium to earn the Veterinary Specialist Qualification under the EURopean Oiled Wildlife Assistance (EUROWA) network.
A new oiled wildlife preparedness project, which builds on the previously EU-funded European Oiled Wildlife Response Assistance (EUROWA) training and preparedness programme, is underway.
Recently Belgian authorities approached Sea Alarm with the offer to help to house the EUROWA equipment stockpile. That equipment has now been moved to a warehouse in Ostend.
Sea Alarm was active in the month-long response to wildlife affected by the Bow Jubail oil spill in Rotterdam Harbour, the Netherlands, coordinating the work of Dutch, European, and global responders in the care of more than 500 oiled swans.