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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00609

Integrated risk assessment for the blue economy

 Emma E. Hodgson1, 2*, Timothy E. Essington2,  Jameal F. Samhouri3,  Edward H. Allison2,  Nathan J. Bennett4, 5, Ann Bostrom2, Alison C. Cullen2, Stephen Kasperski6, Phillip S. Levin2 and  Melissa R. Poe7, 8
  • 1Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • 2University of Washington, United States
  • 3National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), Northwest Region, United States
  • 4University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 5Stanford University, United States
  • 6National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), United States
  • 7Washington Sea Grant (NOAA), University of Washington, United States
  • 8National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States

With the anticipated boom in the ‘blue economy’ and associated increases in industrialization across the world’s oceans, new and complex risks are introduced to ocean ecosystems. As a result, conservation and resource management increasingly look to factor in potential interactions among the social, ecological and economic components of these systems. Investigation of these interactions requires interdisciplinary frameworks that incorporate methods and insights from across the social and biophysical sciences. Risk assessment methods, which have been developed across numerous disciplines and applied to various real-world settings and problems, provide a unique connection point for cross-disciplinary engagement. However, research on risk is often conducted in distinct spheres by experts whose focus is on narrow sources or outcomes of risk. Movement towards a more integrated treatment of risk to ensure a balanced approach to developing and managing ocean resources requires cross-disciplinary engagement and understanding. Here, we provide a primer on risk assessment intended to encourage the development and implementation of integrated risk assessment processes in the emerging blue economy. First, we summarize the dominant framework for risk in the ecological / biophysical sciences. Then, we discuss six key insights from the long history of risk research in the social sciences that can inform integrated assessments of risk: 1) consider the subjective nature of risk, 2) understand individual social and cultural influences on risk perceptions, 3) include diverse expertise, 4) consider the social scales of analysis, 5) incorporate quantitative and qualitative approaches, and 6) understand interactions and feedbacks within systems. Finally, we show how these insights can be incorporated into risk assessment and management, and apply them to a case study of whale entanglements in fishing gear off the U.S. west coast.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, Social-ecological systems, Risk analysis (assessment), ecosystem management, sustainability science, Risk Management, blue economy

Received: 18 Jul 2019; Accepted: 11 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Hodgson, Essington, Samhouri, Allison, Bennett, Bostrom, Cullen, Kasperski, Levin and Poe. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Emma E. Hodgson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada,