Search and rescue simulation for oiled marine wildlife: RESPONDER project trainings have started
We start the training courses of the project “RESPONDER: programa formativo de respuesta ante fauna marina petroleada en las costas españolas”, a SUBMON project supported by the Fundación Biodiversidad of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. This pilot project will be carried out in Asturias and Catalonia throughout 2021 and part of 2022 in collaboration with the Regional Ministry of Rural Affairs and Territorial Cohesion of the Government of Asturias and 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 some marine animals that are more sensitive to such spillages, such as birds or sea turtles. These animals spend a lot of time on the surface of the water, where the oil floats, to rest, dive for food or come up for air. Although many oiled animals die at sea, some may wash ashore, which can pose 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.
In this regard, this Wednesday we carried out a rescue and care drill for marine fauna as part of the practical training of the advanced course on the beach of Arbeyal, in Asturias. The exercise involved more than a dozen officers and technicians from the General Directorates of Natural Environment and Rural Planning and Maritime Fisheries, the Gijón city council and the Port of Gijón. This is the first practical exercise of its kind to be carried out in Asturias.
On 19 October, basic training courses started in Gijón, teaching how to organize a response with wildlife affected by oil spills during the first days and how to intubate a bird and put on personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly. For these courses, the RESPONDER project has the collaboration of the Directorate General of Natural Environment of the Government of Asturias and the Fisheries Experimentation Centre of the Directorate General of Fisheries.
The RESPONDER project
Although progress has been made in recent years in the preparation of a response to oil spillage on the coast and at sea, there is currently no exist a training system in place in Spain to ensure a good, professional, and coordinated response to events involving oiled wildlife.
The aim of the RESPONDER project is to carry out training actions related to the assistance of oiled wildlife in case of spillages. These training are based on the system of the European Network EUROWA (European Oiled Wildlife Assistance), of which SUBMON is a member, with the intention of creating a network of personnel trained in a uniform way throughout Europe, which can be exchanged between countries in case of emergency, working with the same quality