ITOPF 's Senior Technical Adviser, Kelly Reynolds, presented earlier this year at INTERSPILL conference a white paper examining post- spill environmental studies.
The breadth of research on the environmental impact of oil spills over the past few decades means that the short term effects of oil spills on marine species and communities are reasonably well known and predictable.
Nevertheless, concerns are often raised about possible medium to long term population and ecosystem effects, and this, combined with a more environmentally aware general public who demand a greater response to ever smaller incidents, means that governments often need to be able to demonstrate that possible effects of a spill on the marine environment have been studied.
However, is necessary or appropriate to conduct a post-spill study following every single oil spill incident?
This paper uses information from ITOPF attended incidents to look at trends in conducting post-spill studies, and offer a number of possible reasons for these trends; including a general heightened awareness of environmental issues leading to a shift in attitudes and expectations as well as legislative changes. The paper also looks at the implications of these trends for those involved with such studies and re-examine the ideal drivers for scientifically robust post-spill studies.
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