In the Netherlands an important new step has been taken to increase the national preparedness to oiled wildlife incident. The Dutch authority for oil spill preparedness and response, Rijkswaterstaat, has provided a budget to the national oiled bird rehabilitation network SON to develop a manual that can be used to train groups of volunteers that can be called on in case of a larger oiled wildlife incident. The five seabird rehabilitation centres that work together under SON have joined forces to make their individual expertise available for the development of the manual, which was written and produced by one of them, Ecomare. Also Sea Alarm was involved in that process and provided comments and contributions at different stages. On 22 and 23 October the manual was officially launched during a two day workshop on Texel, at Ecomare’s premises, which was attended by Hugo Nijkamp.
The workshop mimicked a training event that each of the rehabilitation centres will organise in the near future to train its own volunteers on the basis of the manual. This train-the-trainer approach familiarised the key instructors from the different centres with the content and potential of the manual. As a living document, the manual will be improved based on experience when it is used. Ecomare was complimented with this result and the perfect organisation of the workshop. Dick Knoester of Rijkswaterstaat, who also attended the event on Texel, stated that he was very impressed with the professionalism that SON and its members had demonstrated in developing the course and the quality of its content. Without doubt the development and use of the training manual can be seen as a promising new step in the close structural partnership between the authorities and NGOs in the Netherlands.