Journal Article

Advocacy science and fisheries decision-making

Jake C. Rice

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 68, issue 10, pages 2007-2012
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsr154
Advocacy science and fisheries decision-making

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Rice, J. C. 2011. Advocacy science and fisheries decision-making. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 2007–2012.

Science advice is supposed to meet idealistic standards for objectivity, impartiality, and lack of bias. Acknowledging that science advisors are imperfect at meeting those standards, they nonetheless need to strive to produce sound, non-partisan advice, because of the privileged accountability given to science advice in decision-making. When science advisors cease to strive for those ideals and promote advocacy science, such advice loses the right to that privileged position. There are temptations to shape science advice by using information that “strengthens” the conservation case selectively. Giving in to such temptation, however, dooms the advice; science advice becomes viewed as expressions of the biases of those who provide it rather than reflecting the information on which the advice is based. Everyone, including the ecosystems, loses. There are ways to increase the impact of science advice on decision-making that do not involve perverting science advice into advocacy: peer review by diverse experts, integrating advice on ecological, economic, and social information and outcomes, and focusing advisory approaches on risks, costs, and trade-offs of different types of management error. These approaches allow the science experts to be active, informed participants in the governance processes to aid sound decision-making, not to press for preselected outcomes. Everyone, including the ecosystems, wins.

Keywords: advocacy; fisheries advice; marine conservation; science-policy interaction

Journal Article.  4898 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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