This paper presents a suggestion of methodology to previously define proper emergency response strategies to protect different coastal environments in case of a potential oil spill. In the event of an oil spill reaching the coast, a plan must be in place to mitigate its consequences.

For an effective response during a spill emergency the shoreline must be divided and classified according to the identification of sensitive areas, protection priorities, and protection methods. The proposed methodology suggests a qualitative assessment in a decision tree format that relates physical, biotic and socioeconomic data collected in secondary surveys and fieldwork campaigns. Using these inputs, the methodology is applied to assist oil companies defining the proper level of investment for establishing a customized shoreline protection and cleanup plan.

Despite being useful for planning effective response actions the methodology proposed in this paper is yet the first step towards the construction of a consolidated emergency environmental management process.

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