Science Advisory Report 2017/032
A framework for assessing vulnerability of biological components to ship-source oil spills
- This Science Advisory Report (SAR) provides a framework for assessing and screening vulnerability of biological components to ship-source oil spills. This is a National framework, which now needs to be applied in the regions in order to assess effectiveness and any required changes.
- The scope of this framework is to address direct effects associated with immediate as well as potentially long term exposure resulting from a single ship-sourced oil spill event. This framework is not meant to assess indirect or secondary effects from oil exposure, or cumulative effects from multiple stressors.
- The application of this framework has the potential to streamline the provision of expert advice on those biological components that are vulnerable to ship-source oil spills.
- This framework was designed for application within the jurisdiction of DFO but could also be potentially applicable or of interest to other jurisdictions.
- Marine biological components were divided into groups and sub-groups in order to better enable vulnerability assessment for an oil spill.
- Criteria were developed to identify species sub-groups with higher vulnerabilities to oil spills. Criteria were grouped into three types: exposure, sensitivity, and recovery potential.
- A sequential screening system was developed to rapidly identify sub-groups that are exposed and sensitive to oil. Identified sub-groups are subject to further evaluation of recovery potential at the population level. Criteria are broad and aim to be adaptable to all species sub-groupings across Canada.
- Components of this framework (eg. species sub-groups, additional criteria) may not be entirely applicable to unique environments, especially in the Arctic.
- The framework allows for identification of knowledge and data gaps that could be used to improve the application of the framework.
- The framework process/structure may be suitable for assessing vulnerability of biological components to other types of spills (eg. Hazardous Noxious Substances). It may also be suitable to assess the impact of other marine activities.
This Science Advisory Report is from the March 1-3, 2016 National Peer Review meeting on A framework for assessing vulnerability of aquatic ecosystems to ship-source oil spills. Additional publications from this meeting will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
This document is available in PDF format. If the document is not accessible to you, please contact the Secretariat to obtain another appropriate format, such as regular print, large print, Braille or audio version.
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