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In memoriam: Jim Conroy

It is with great sadness that we learned that our friend Jim Conroy passed away on March 22 after losing his battle with cancer.

Jim was one of the people who have been tremendously important in the early days of Sea Alarm. He initially became involved in 2000 when he was still connected to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology as a scientist, but later more intensively when he started working as an independent consultant. For several years Jim worked closely with Hugo to assess and overcome the various challenges that Sea Alarm was facing in its development, being a new organisation with a strong message but without any source of structural funding. On many occasions Jim accompanied Hugo on visits to key organisations and to international conferences and workshops, to gain support for the ideas of the organisation and to earn credibility. Jim joined the Sea Alarm Board in March 2001 and helped in the development of a more internationally supported and operating organisation. He was appointed vice-chairman and stayed on the Board until September 2008.

Jim always really enjoyed being part of the Sea Alarm gang and contributed where he could. He joined some of the early emergency responses that Sea Alarm undertook. In November 2002, Jim and Hugo went to Galicia during the Prestige incident when Sea Alarm was mobilised by the P&I club to assist with the management of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation operations. Two months later Jim spent many days in Ostend helping in the management of bird rehabilitation efforts following the Tricolor (2003) incident. Jim co-authored the development of the IPIECA Guide to Oiled Wildlife Response Planning in 2004 and also witnessed the increasing support by the oil industry for Sea Alarm’s objectives, finally resulting in the long term relationship between Sea Alarm and Oil Spill Response.

From his involvement in the Braer (1992) and San Jorge (1997) wildlife responses, he was amongst the first people who strongly recognised the need for wildlife responders to unite, speak with one voice, and work together with their governments and the industry. He co-authored many papers and reports Sea Alarm produced in the early years to advance that goal. The oiled wildlife response community in Europe is therefore much indebted to Jim, who was one of the pioneers of the much more substantiated and strongly developing European preparedness for oiled wildlife response that we see today. We cherish the memories of so many nice and warm moments with Jim, who always was a very open, thoughtful, wise and cheerful friend. Our thoughts are with Jim’s wife Anne and son Alasdair.

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