Vulnerability Assessments

A crucial first step in designing operations and developing contingency plans for unintended discharges is to describe and categorise the vulnerability of areas and habitats to the planned activity.

Akvaplan-niva performs vulnerability assessments that address the diverse needs of clients from maritime industries and coastal management governing authorities. Our specialists routinely conduct environmental vulnerability assessments related to coastal oil spills, harbour pollution, sewage disposal and aquaculture operations.

Diverse Needs - Individualised Attention

We conduct vulnerability assessments for clients engaged in or responsible for a wide range of maritime related activities. We provide our clients with a complete catalogue of resource assets and capabilities related to each resource, and recommended mitigation strategies for the most serious vulnerabilities and most valuable resources. We have experience addressing a broad spectrum of impact factors, including oil spills, disposal and handling of contaminated and clean sediments, harbour pollution, sewage disposal, discharges from aquaculture farms, and coastal maintenance and improvement projects. Our specialists take pride in producing assessments that exceed our client’s requirements and expectations.

The Petroleum Sector – Our Specialty

Akvaplan-niva specialises in coastal oil spill sensitivity and vulnerability assessments related to petroleum operations in nearshore habitats of Norway. These are produced, drawing upon our extensive experience gathered through biodiversity mapping and assessment projects performed for the petroleum industry and the Norwegian Environment Agency. Akvaplan-niva also provides services for the design of drilling operations nearby sensitive habitats including cold water coral reef, fisheries, aquaculture and marine habitat protected areas.

Generating New Knowledge to Improve Assessments

In conjunction with our Arctic R&D department, Akvaplan-niva offers field and experimental investigations to support a vulnerability assessment. Using our detailed knowledge of the locations and composition of sensitive habitat types, these studies are designed to address gaps of knowledge or enhance existing information on critical impact factors. Enhancing a vulnerability assessment through in depth investigations leads to better management recommendations. With this higher standard of excellence, our clients achieve greater credibility for their operational plans.


Akvaplan-niva in Action

Our vulnerability assessments address all levels of the marine food web.Walrus is one of the key species in the Arctic ecosystem. <span>Image by Guttorm Christensen</span>
A monkfish, camouflaged as seabed sand and shells, waits for its prey. <span>Image by Bjørn Gulliksen</span>
These tiny zooplankton appear in large swarms in the North Atlantic and Barents Sea ecosystems and are a major food resource for higher trophic level species. <span>Image by Bjørn Gulliksen</span>
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For More Information

Lars-Henrik Larsen
Tromsø, Norway

Related Reading

Recommended amending actions to a planned exploratory drilling within 500 meters from a sensitive benthic habitat (coral reef).

Akvaplan-niva (2011)

Client: Confidential.

Development of the Goliat field; Description of environmental and natural resources in the coastal zone.

Akvaplan-niva (2008)

Client: Eni Norge.

Assessment of impacts to aquaculture of establishing a nature protection area in Sjunkan-Misten).

Akvaplan-niva (2005)

Client: The regional governor of Nordland.