Can multi-use of the sea be safe? A framework for risk assessment of multi-use at sea
By 2050 the world population is expected to reach 10 billion people. This population needs food, water and energy. Increasingly, opportunities are sought out at sea to accommodate these needs. As there is already competition for space, especially in the near-shore, opportunities for multi-use, including the combination of, for example, food and energy production in a single location, are sought. One issue that needs to be addressed to allow for multi-use at sea is safety. Existing frameworks for (marine) risk assessment tend to be rather sector specific and, although existing models and frameworks for risk analysis provide useful elements for an integrated analysis, none of the approaches fully caters for the need of having a framework based on a cyclical process of stakeholder input in all steps of the process of risk identification, risk management and risk evaluation and communication, identifying actions to be taken and providing tools useful in each of the steps, while integrating the three perspectives of maritime safety, food (and feed) safety, and environmental impact assessment and the different perspectives of the actors involved. This study developed a common framework for the risk assessment of multi-use at sea, consisting of six steps (Exploring, Understanding, Appraising, Deciding, Implementing and Evaluating & Communication). The framework encompasses and integrates an analysis of food and feed safety aspects, the safety of people and equipment, and environmental safety aspects. For each step, actions are defined, tools that can be of help to stakeholders are presented, and stakeholder participation measures are described. The framework is iterative and dynamic in its nature; with constant communication and evaluation of progress, decisions can be taken to either take a step forward or back. The framework is developed to assist operators and producers, policymakers, and other stakeholders in assessing and managing risks of multi-use at sea.