SMRU Consulting are excited to be hosting a workshop at the 2015 SMM tomorrow! The topic is: Marine mammal impact prediction, assessment, monitoring and mitigation. There is a fantastic list of attendees going and we are really looking forward to the discussions throughout the day.

We will have several of our team members from the different offices at the workshop including:

Check out the details of our workshop:

Science and Decision Making in an Uncertain World: Building Bridges between Science and Impact Assessments

Subject: Marine mammal impact prediction, assessment, monitoring and mitigation: Human Dimensions, Policy and Management theme

Date/Time: Saturday, December 12, 2015; 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Organizer: Carol Sparling

Description: Regulators in all nations need to ensure that developments in the marine environment do not cause unacceptable harm to the environment and the animals that live there. Most countries require a legal process of impact assessment for any development projects to ensure that they are only permitted if they do not cause significant impacts to the populations of animals that inhabit the region. If permitted, monitoring is often required to validate the predictions of the assessment, where predictions may be uncertain and/or to ensure that the mitigation put in place is effective. Effective impact prediction, assessment and monitoring rely on good scientific information and a clear and consistent regulatory framework. There are a number of practical issues associated with this process:

  • Regulatory consenting processes are not well established, particularly for ‘new’ industries such as offshore renewables
  • Insufficient knowledge of the marine environment
  • Insufficient knowledge of impact mechanisms, especially sub-lethal effects
  • Concerns about species already under stress (cumulative effects)
  • The difficulty of monitoring for effects – proving a negative under high natural variation
  • Lack of agreed standards
  • The importance of societal influences including cultural and economic impacts

This workshop aims to bring together applied scientists and regulators to explore these issues, to share knowledge and experience and start to develop global best practice in the marine mammal community. Speakers will be invited to present a series of case studies illustrating these issues and to provide examples where progress is being made and best practice is being developed. The workshop will also involve discussion to define a set of guiding principles on marine mammal impact assessment globally – the intention is that this will be published as a white paper.