The long-term effects of oil spills on wildlife and their habitats are just beginning to be understood. Reduction of these impacts, which for wildlife can range from reproductive failure to developmental abnormalities, may be assisted by the natural breakdown of oils by organisms found in the marine environment. Some recent studies have looked at biodegradation, giving a slightly clearer picture of what these organisms can and can’t do.
Five years after the inaugural World Seabird Conference launched the World Seabird Union (WSU), Capetown will host the WSU’s second conference. From 26-30 October 2015, experts from around the world will gather to share information on seabird research and conservation.
US states focus on oil pipeline and rail transport safety; Coast Guard finalizes tanker rules for Prince William Sound
Oil spill prevention and response are in the forefront in the US as two states, New Hampshire and Minnesota, have passed laws increasing industry responsibility for pipeline and railroad maintenance and emergency response, and California has added fees for rail and pipeline oil shipments similar to those they impose on marine oil carriers. In addition, the US Coast Guard has finalised rules for transport of oil in Prince William Sound where the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred 25 years ago.
Oiledwildife.eu is saddened to report that Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of International Bird Rescue for many years, died on June 10, 2014.
A two-day Oiled Wildlife Response Planning course, to be held 9-10 October in Ostend, Belgium, will introduce industry response personnel and other stakeholders responsible for environmental resources to the complexities of an oiled wildlife response.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has issued its final update on the devastating seabird wreck caused by severe winter storms, with totals of confirmed affected birds now reaching more than 33,000.
The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA)’s Environmental Awareness Campaign held its final series of events on the island of Euboea in May. The campaign, supported by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, is geared toward educating children on the issue of marine pollution and encouraging their engagement in environmental conservation and protection activities.
A new International Tanker Owners Oil Pollution Federation (ITOPF) series of seven films will take viewers inside the world of oil spill response, where experts explain everything from the behaviour of different types of oil in the marine environment to response at sea to the environmental impacts of oil spills.
As of 2012, European shags nesting in areas oiled during the Prestige incident in 2002 were still rearing fewer chicks to fledging than shags in colonies not affected by the spill. Chronic exposure to residual oil and reduced food resources are suggested as possible reasons for this.
On the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a review of species impacted by the incident shows recovery is varied. Seven species are considered recovered, the latest being the sea otter whose recovery was announced in 2013. Four species are recovering but have not reached pre-spill status, two species’ recovery status is unknown and one species is not recovering. Lingering oil in nesting and foraging areas was a factor until 2004 in the slow recovery of some species, with climate change, reduced prey availability, predation by introduced species and natural low reproductive rates playing a part in delaying recovery. Full details of the recovery project are available at the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council website.