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An overview of risk assessment in a marine biosecurity context

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Campbell, ML (2009) An overview of risk assessment in a marine biosecurity context. In: Biological Invasions in Marine Ecosystems. Ecological Studies (Vol. 2). Springer, Heildelberg, Germany, pp. 353-373. ISBN 978-3-540-79235-2

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Abstract

Our ability to manage the variety of human induced stresses in the marine environment
is hampered by limited resources, a lack of fundamental knowledge and the
absence of appropriate tools (Lubchenco et al. 1991; Norse 1993). This is particularly
true when faced with introduced marine species. Structured and transparent
evaluation techniques that both determine and justify management decisions are
needed to effectively deal with introduced marine species in both an ecological and
socio-political sense (as discussed by Hewitt et al., Chap. 33). Coupling this need
with knowledge, resource and data limitations has led decision makers and management
to use risk assessment as a means to direct their actions.
In simple terms, risk assessment is a method of evaluating the likelihood that an
event may occur and the consequences of such an event. In general, ecological risk
assessment proceeds by establishing the context (e.g., introduced species in a
region; hazard analysis); identifying the risk, hazards and effects (e.g., impacts on
core values); assessing those risks (analyse and evaluate the risks); and treating the
risk(s) (e.g., incursion response activity, mitigation, Australian Risk Management
Guidelines; Standards Australia 2000, 2004). A measure of risk is derived by multiplying
likelihood by consequence. Hazard analysis (a technique often confused
with risk assessment) determines the actions, events, substances, environmental
conditions, or species that could result in an undesired event, but does not identify
the likelihood or the level of consequence. Introduced species, vectors or transport
pathways are all examples of hazards.
Likelihood is the probability that an event may occur. Typically, likelihood will
range from rare occurrence to highly likely (or frequent). Consequence, on the
other hand, measures the impact an event may have on the values being assessed
and can be derived by measuring the change in value from a pre- and post impacted
system. Although monetary units are often used to measure change in value
(because they are easily understood and facilitate comparison) this does not have to
be the unit of measure; semi-quantitative categorical ranking (e.g., low, medium,
high value) is also possible.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: biological invasions, conservation biology, marine ecology, ocean, shipping
Publisher: Springer
Page Range: pp. 353-373
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2008 02:34
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:53
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