Ecological Basis of Risk Analysis for Marine Ecosystems symposium to be held in June in Finland

15 Jan 2014

The world's sea ecosystems are facing an increasing number of risks: overfishing, oil drilling, oil transportation, climate change, eutrophication and aquaculture, for instance. The joint analysis of multiple risks is a challenging task for scientists. Risk assessment methods are well adopted in some scientific arenas, such as finance, health and insurance, but less so in areas such as resource management, climate change and social sciences.

“If we scientists leave out some risk factors from the scientific advice, we underestimate risks. Moreover, it's important to identify which risk factors can be effectively managed and which are only to be taken into account without a possibility for effective management. For example, weather variability or sea temperatures can't be managed by any tools, but fish stock management options are rich and they can be used to manage joint risks. It's also important to analyse what new information should be provided before management decisions can be carried out,” says Professor Sakari Kuikka (University of Helsinki), one of the organisers of the symposium.

Many of society's concerns are related to poorly known fish species that are often caught as by-catches. In such cases, the precautionary approach is to utilise all information available to estimate the risks. The learning production capacity of the stocks may call for new learning systems, where some of the relevant information is borrowed from similar types of species having more scientific knowledge.

The scientific practices related to risk analysis vary between application areas. One of the main aims of society is to learn effectively also between the disciplines, and to create interdisciplinary management tools to provide relevant science for end users. It is a real challenge to get biologists, economists and social scientists to work on the same problem and provide valuable information to society to better manage the risks.

Visit the symposium website at for more information.

More information:

  • Terhi Minkkinen, Communications Officer, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Copenhagen, Denmark, tel. +45 33 38 67 16, terhi.minkkinen(at)
  • Sakari Kuikka, symposium organiser, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 50 33 092 33, sakari.kuikka(at)
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