A better understanding of the potential cumulative impacts of aquaculture could guide the development of sustainable marine aquaculture. Environmental risk assessment plays an important role in this process by elucidating the main challenges and associated risk factors.
Choice of methodology will affect the management advice; therefore, an appropriate environmental risk assessment should contribute to mutual risk understanding and risk acknowledgement among stakeholders and thus, common perspectives on measures and governance. Risk assessment should also aim to promote fruitful discussions about risk and risk influencing factors across stakeholders with different value perceptions.
Whether an environmental risk assessment can be considered useful should be seen in relation to the specific context of how aquaculture is governed. That is, how the results will be utilized by stakeholders, and whether the risk assessment is structured and displayed in such a way that decision makers in the public administration and other interested parties are able to fully understand and acknowledge risk.
To reach these goals the concept of risk and risk terminology should be guided by the latest thinking in risk science where the characterization of the background knowledge is considered a key component of the risk assessment.
Risk can seldom be described adequately by probabilities alone and advocates an approach that aims at knowledge characterization. Characterization of the background knowledge provides stakeholders an awareness of to what extent the results from the risk assessment carry weight. Strong knowledge means the risk results carry much weight, whilst weak knowledge (i.e. uncertainty) may lead stakeholders to question whether the risk assessment is valid.
This session invites presentations and discussions on what makes an environmental risk assessment valid and reliable and how do we deal with uncertainties and surprises aiming to reach common risk understanding across stakeholders with different value perceptions.