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Sea Alarm worked closely together with the Bonn Agreement Secretariat to prepare a paper for the OTSOPA 2010 meeting with a proposal for a new chapter on wildlife response in the Counter Pollution Manual. OTSOPA (Working Group on Operational, Technical and Scientific Questions Concerning Counter Pollution Activities) had requested such a proposal at their previous meeting in 2009. Sea Alarm and the Secretariat designed a questionnaire which was sent to all Bonn Agreement Contracting Parties, in order to get an updated overview of current wildlife response arrangements in the area of the Agreement. They also studied the Counter Pollution Manual to see which chapters may need to be amended to include oiled wildlife response preparedness.

Sea Alarm was invited to the OTSOPA meeting, which was held 25-28 May in Antwerp, to present the proposal. In the discussions that followed several countries indicated that they needed more time to study the proposal. It was agreed that between now and OTSOPA 2011, countries will provide their comments, on the basis of which Sea Alarm is invited to present a final proposal.

The Bonn Agreement’s Counter Pollution Manual is a shared document between all Contracting Parties of the Agreement. The Manual includes all agreed procedures for providing mutual assistance in the case of a complicated pollution incident in one of the countries. Wildlife response so far was not recognised in the manual, but clearly this will soon change. In this respect OTSOPA is on the same path as the Helsinki Convention where the arrangements for oiled wildlife response have recently been agreed.

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