Wildlife Response Co-ordinating Committee (WRCC) and the new Shetland Oiled Wildlife Network (SOWN)

SOWN Mission Statement:

The Shetland Oiled Wildlife Network (SOWN) is a forum for knowledge sharing and information transfer between Shetland’s oiled wildlife stakeholders. The function of the network is to facilitate informed communication and cooperation between stakeholders, but the network itself is not responsible for delivering the oiled wildlife response.

The aims of the network are:

1) Shared awareness of the oiled wildlife resources and provisions held by each stakeholder

2) Shared awareness of modern-day oil spill response planning

The end of WRCC and the future of SOWN

For many years SOTEAG’s Wildlife Response Coordinating Committee (WRCC) was a model of excellence for oiled wildlife response strategy and leadership. SOTEAG and WRCC were major contributors to the publication A Guide to Oiled Wildlife Response Planning, prepared by the EU Sea Alarm Foundation and published in 2004 by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA Report Series Volume 13) in Balbriggan, Ireland.

In modern times, however, oiled wildlife response practices and standards have developed significantly. There is now a detailed government-led national contingency plan with extensive provisions in place for oils spills, including oiled wildlife response, and within the oil industry oiled wildlife response is now a bespoke professional enterprise.

As of the 6th June 2019 WRCC was terminated and is no longer able to fully deliver the wildlife response stated in the most recent version of the WRCC Oil Spill Plan (2016-2018). In the event of an oil spill the national contingency plan  (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-contingency-planncp) would be implemented and has management frameworks in place for the preparation and response to emergencies in Scottish waters.

SOTEAG is not in a position to lead or take responsibility for an oiled wildlife response. The former-WRCC stakeholder group still has many assets and resources that would be of immense value in the event of a major oil spill, such as good network connections between environmental and Oil and Gas organisations on Shetland, highly detailed oil spill sensitivity maps and excellent local knowledge through our volunteers and local stakeholders and as such the Shetland Oiled Wildlife Network (SOWN) has been created in order to maintain a network of communication and cooperation between the oiled wildlife response stakeholders on Shetland.

For more information contact soteag@st-andrews.ac.uk