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Developments in arctic oiled wildlife response

Sea Alarm has made important steps in 2011 towards developing better preparedness for Arctic oiled wildlife incidents. Saskia Sessions was invited to make a presentation at the October meeting of the Arctic Council’s Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group (EPPR). This was to propose a new project to develop Guidelines on Oiled Wildlife Response Planning for Arctic countries. These guidelines would be based on the instruments developed in Europe, particularly HELCOM, but incorporating considerations specific to the arctic context. For example, the importance of subsistence harvesting of wildlife by local peoples, or ensuring that extreme arctic conditions and their implications for health and safety are given sufficient consideration in wildlife response planning. Although the EPPR countries requested more time to consider Sea Alarm’s proposal, it was noted and very apt at a time when the EPPR has formally recognised the need for oiled wildlife response to be incorporated into the Group’s oil spill response arrangements.
Saskia also gave a presentation at an Arctic Oil Spill Conference, which took place in London in October 2011. The conference was attended by a mixture of participants from industry, governments and international oil spill response organisations interested in the latest developments in responding to arctic oil spills. It is encouraging to see oiled wildlife response being given recognition at an industry event on responding to spills in the Arctic. Sea Alarm will continue its work in this area, which is becoming ever more important because Arctic wildlife will come under increasing risk as climate change opens up more areas for oil exploration and transportation.

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