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Progress At Latest HELCOM Expert Working Group Meeting

Progress at latest HELCOM Expert Working Group meeting

The Expert Working group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWG-OWR), which Sea Alarm chairs, recently held its 10th meeting.

The EWG-OWR is a platform for exchange between authorities from the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (the Helsinki Convention or HELCOM), who are charged with responsibilities in an oiled wildlife response. The group, created under HELCOM RESPONSE, shares their varied experiences with emergency response, exercises, training and planning processes.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a report from Poland on the development of their national oiled wildlife response plan, and the training and exercises being organised on the basis of this plan. National response plans, and the activities required to make them effective in managing impacted wildlife, are at the core of the EWG-OWR’’s work.

The EWG-OWR is also exploring the role euthanasia plays as a response option for oiled wildlife. A dialogue has started with Denmark, a member of the working group which uses euthanasia as its default approach in handling oiled wildlife incidents. Key topics in the ongoing discussion are methodologies for employing euthanasia, logistic and organisational requirements, and the decision-making procedures for choosing between rehabilitation and euthanasia as alternative options for dealing with oiled animals.

To further the groups’ efforts in this area, Sea Alarm is currently revising its Self-Assessment Tool to explicitly include euthanasia and the preparedness levels that can be applied to the use of this process.

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