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Factors influencing the scope and quality of science and management decisions: (the good, the bad and the ugly)
Alverson, D. (2002). Factors influencing the scope and quality of science and management decisions: (the good, the bad and the ugly). Fish Fish. 3(1): 3-19
In: Fish and Fisheries. Blackwell Science: Oxford. ISSN 1467-2960, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Overfishing; Stock assessment; Technical feasibility; Technological innovations; Uncertainty; Uncertainty; Uncertainty; Marine

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  • Alverson, D.

    The lecture traces the historical path to overfishing of the world's fish and shellfish stocks, and provides an assessment of marine fish resources in the later half of the 1990s. The basis of overfishing as noted by various fishery scientists is reviewed. Four factors, including institutional paralysis, the rapidity of technological developments, uncertainty of science, and the inability to monitor and enforce regulations are identified as the major problems leading to overfishing. The failure of the world community to deal with extensive overfishing, appears to have motivated managers and scientists to promote a new fishery management paradigm that focuses on a broader set of problems resulting from fishing, and establishes a more conservative decision-making process founded on precautionary principle and uncertainty. The author feels that the evolving paradigm will result in the rebuilding of a number of stocks in the United States, but is less certain of its adoption on a global scale, and whether or not science will play a more useful role in fisheries management. It is noted that the support for fisheries science and the status of fisheries have followed opposite courses. Over the past half century marine science has boomed, diversified and become intellectually and materially enriched, while the number of overfished stocks and ecological disasters has increased. Looking ahead it is expected that fisheries management will move into a more conservative era. The focus of fisheries has moved from full use of ocean resources to establishing yields that take into account the impacts of fisheries on target and non-target species and the ecosystem in general. Although there has been wide-spread abuse in the use of the world's fishery resources and condemnation of the fishing industries, the author feels that the government institutions must bear the primary responsibility for the historical course of fishery management and its failure.

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