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Spanish workshop highlights oiled wildlife response stakeholder cooperation

Spanish oiled wildlife response stakeholders came together on 3 and 4 March 2020 in Madrid at the headquarters of the Fundación Biodiversidad for an oiled wildlife workshop focused on improving processes for oiled wildlife response at the regional and national level. The workshop was made possible by funding from Aramco in support of the EUROWA Initiative and from the EU’s Life+ programme. 

Organised by EUROWA Partner Submon together with Sea Alarm and the Fundación Biodiversidad (part of the Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico or MTERD), a total of 18 people had the opportunity of participating in the workshop. Various authorities and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres from several regions in Spain (Cataluña, Baleares, Valencia, Murcia, Canarias, Galicia, Asturias), authorities from the General Administration (MTERD), Salvamento Maritimo (SASEMAR), as well as other interested NGOs (Grupo de Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona y su Hábitat/GREFA and Asociación Chelonia) attended this workshop as possible participants in oil spills episodes.

Participants heard presentations on different concepts of oiled wildlife response and preparedness, and ongoing work in different parts of Europe and the world. Presentations on the EUROWA Network and its position and activities in Europe, and on seabird vulnerabilities in Spanish marine waters, as well as case studies of the 2002 Prestige response in Spain and the 2018 Bow Jubail response in the Netherlands were included.

A highlight was a discussion on the use of the ‘Guide for the development of Regional Response Plans for oiled wildlife and action protocols’, which is a framework response plan for Spain, developed by Submon and currently under revision by the Ministry. Participants explored their collective knowledge during several interactive sessions, discussing scenarios, preparedness in different parts of Spain, and tasks and responsibilities in a wildlife response.

All the participants concluded that it is a priority for each region to develop its own Regional Response Plan, and more opportunities should be created to practice wildlife response activities and decision making during national or regional oil spill exercises. Some of the participants showed interest in participating in EUROWA training courses, as well as keeping in contact with the rest of the workshop participants to share future experiences and opportunities.

In the evaluation session participants expressed their appreciation of the event and said they look forward to continuing work on this topic. SAF and Submon will continue to work with the national and regional Spanish Authorities to keep this group connected, and to realise follow-up activities that will enhance oiled wildlife response and preparedness in the country, in support of the EUROWA mission.

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