The WRC Ostend hosted the last 2013 meeting of the European oiled wildlife response team from 19-21 November. At the meeting, the Joint European Protocol for Seabird Rehabilitation, which is in final preparation for printing, was reviewed in detail.
The Protocol has been developed over the course of several years by a core of response organisations including Pro-Bird-Germany, the RSPCA, WRC Ostend and Sea Alarm. It is envisioned that this Protocol will become a joint European standard for seabird rehabilitation.
To that end, a wider audience of response organisations was included in the meeting to become familiar with the document and discuss future joint projects. One important development at the European level is the new European Directive on offshore safety, which includes provision for Member States to develop wildlife response preparedness for offshore installations.
That Directive may bring further opportunities for European wildlife response groups to collaborate in being prepared for oiled wildlife incidents and to build their capacity to provide trained personnel in the event of an incident in Europe.
Discussions were also held at the meeting regarding training needs for wildlife responders and volunteers in Europe, potential funding sources for oiled wildlife response teams and equipment within Europe and ways in which each attending organisation might be involved.