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Experts gather in Texel to discuss Seabird Risk and Impact Assessment

In September of this year, a range of experts met for a two-day workshop in Texel, Netherlands to discuss Risk and Impact Assessment methods for marine wildlife emergencies. Seabird population experts from scientific institutions, regional authorities and veterinarians were invited to gain insight into how to evaluate population impacts during mass marine wildlife stranding events.

The course was designed to provide guidance on what kind of data is needed, how that information should be gathered, analysed and communicated to decision makers in emergency response systems. It focused on the development of skills that are needed to carry out a risk assessment in a safe way, and to prepare, structure, manage and report on a population impact assessment.

On day 1, participants were taught about which kind of data is important to collect for oil spill response risk and impact assessments, and why. During oil spills, scientific knowledge is crucial to guide authorities and other stakeholders when making decisions, especially around protection of species and organising the treatment of live animals (euthanasia or rehabilitation). Some time was devoted to discussing the recent outbreak of Avian Influenza which has caused unprecedented mass mortalities of seabird populations in Europe. Participants exchanged knowledge and best practices for the current outbreak which is causing numerous deaths in seabird populations, and which poses a threat to human health.

On day 2, participants moved to the practical side of things. After an introduction to the theory behind necropsies for seabirds and what kind of data is needed for impact assessments, they went to the lab to practise necropsies. They learned methods for performing necropsies, identifying the animal’s sex and life stage, and drawing conclusions on the cause of death.

To close the workshop, the group was brought back together for a final discussion and for feedback. The group were very pleased with the workshop and expressed clear interest in keeping in contact as a group and possibly creating a new network.

The workshop was organised and facilitated by EUROWA-2 project coordinator Sea Alarm, and was delivered by Kees Camphuysen of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ), Hugo Nijkamp of Sea Alarm and with the collaboration of guest lecturer Susanne Kuehn (Wageningen Marine Research).

For further information, contact the EUROWA Secretariat.

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