First advanced courses and practice drills in Catalonia on search and rescue of oiled marine wildlife of the RESPONDER project
“RESPONDER: a training program for response to oiled marine fauna on the Spanish coasts” is a SUBMON project supported by the Fundación Biodiversidad of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. This pilot project carried out the first trainings in Asturias last year, in collaboration with the Regional Ministry of Rural Affairs and Territorial Cohesion of the Government of Asturias, and now it starts the training sessions in Catalonia with the support of the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Accidental or intentional spills of oil or other chemical compounds into the sea can cause serious damage to marine animals such as birds or sea turtles. These animals spend much time on the water’s surface, where the oil floats, to rest, dive for food or come up for air. Although many oiled animals die at sea, some may reach the coast, which can suppose a major management challenge. Therefore, it is important to act in a coordinated, rapid, knowledgeable, and effective manner to minimize the damage caused by such spillage.
Prior to the first advanced oiled marine fauna response courses to be held in Catalonia in October, a basic course has been carried out, where participants have learnt how a response with fauna affected by oil spills is organized during the first few days, as well as how to intubate birds for rehydration and how to put on personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly.
First simulations on Catalan beaches
On the 5th and 6th of October, two practice drills will take place on the beaches of Arenys de Mar and Sitges, respectively. These exercises are essential as part of the advanced course in response to oiled marine wildlife.
During the practical exercises of search and rescue of oiled seabirds, the animals will be represented by photographs. A collection point will be set up on the beach and several work teams will set the tent, organize the tasks and comb the area in search of damaged wildlife. Once they have been located, the fictitious animals will be taken to the tent, where they will receive initial treatment, and information about each animal will be recorded. In the event of a real accident, they would later be transferred to a purpose-built wildlife rescue center to continue their recovery.
These courses will be given by Mariluz Parga and Andreu Dalmau, from SUBMON, in collaboration with the “Centre d’Estudis del Mar” of the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Arenys de Mar Council, and are supported by Fundación Biodiversidad, of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, and the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat de Catalunya.