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Fisheries Quota Advice: Significant Scripts & Significant Digits Conference

June 9-10, Brussels "Significant Digits" conference

Dorothy Dankel

on 14 June 2017

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Transcript of Fisheries Quota Advice: Significant Scripts & Significant Digits Conference

re-framing as a "post-normal problem"
Fisheries Quotas
What is
The underlying science has inherent uncertainties, is sometimes irreproducible & undocumented & based on value judgements
Dorothy J. Dankel, Ph.D.
Fisheries quota advice:
Significant scripts & significant digits
Researcher, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen
Board Member, Nordic Marine Think Tank, nmtt.org
Dorothy J. Dankel, Ph.D.
Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (Senter for Vitenskapsteori, SVT)

Who should decide?
On what basis?
stock assessment
Conflicting assessments confuse the scientists & anger the stakeholders
the current case of the Norwegian Spring Spawning Herring
contemporary fisheries management?
Fisheries management in the North Sea
Acoustic survey data
Expert Groups
ICES Advice (TAC)
TAC distribution
Negotiated Total TAC
Fisheries catch data
= Stock Assessment
Advisory Committee
ICES Clients (>20)
formalized TAC advice
Advice Drafting Groups
stock assmt results
1st version of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) advice
Negotiation among Coastal States
How to share the TAC?
Annual Cycle
social repurcussions of 1-sided (biologically-based) advice?
What could be done differently?
working deliberately within imperfections
state of the art uncertainty quantification/communication
National Aquarium (USA) Expert Panel recommendations "Addressing uncertainty in fisheries science and management"
dedicate time & training to scientists & stakeholders in stock assessment and communication (ICES courses)
regular, iterative pre-agreed procedural dialogue meetings (Dankel,
in progress
published guidelines
"Sildesaken" Timeline of Events
Dispute between fishermen & government institution scientists
Norwegian Spring Spawning herring fishermen & ex-institute scientist dispute official quota advice for herring; start "find the error" campaign
January 2015
Collaborative survey cruise scientists-fishermen
February 2015
Scientists keep lid on survey data, announce a relative number & no revision of quota advice

Some fishermen dismayed, publically discredit institute's credibility
May 2015

Some fishermen hire retired stock assessment scientist to review the stock assessment

Institute denies allegations of censorship of ex-inst. scientist

73 fishermen give €1400 each to finance ex-institute scientist continue to "find the error"
June 2015
Minister of Fisheries sets up review committee, but no comment on chain of events or role of stakeholders/scientists
Uncertainty in stock assessment & management advice:
the need for the Management Procedure
April 2015
Admin. Director of Institute dismisses all accusations of credibility of the stock surveys and quota advice & says the scientists must concentrate on "the big, heavy processes within ICES"
My summary of the on-going Herring Dispute
scientists are struggling with uncertainty (see Dankel et al. 2012 "Advice under uncertainty in the marine system")
institution's administration struggling for credibility & legitmacy
a discrepancy between the line of command & the line of knowledge at the institute (administration vs. scientists)
fishermen are very vocal in the coastal newspaper, but scientists (strategically?) stay in the background (accusations of censorship of scientists from institute's directors)
a divide between the different fishermen's organizations
fishermen's organization hiring retired and ex-institute scientists to aid in the survey results/stock assmt
the Norwegian institute pushes responsibility of the stock assessment & quota advice to ICES, but IMR scientists are (should be) the experts of their own data & models
desire for dialogue from both sides, but no outline on how to proceed; lack of experience? What is the role of the Ministry?
is more than a number
technical (inexactness)
methodological (unrealiability)
epistemological (ignorance)
societal (limited social robustness)
Framings of uncertainty:

uncertainty can be overcome (more research)
more complex models will reduce uncertainty
"Speaking truth to power"

(expert panels, scientific consensus)
comparative evaluations of research results
"Speaking consensus to power"

uncertainty is intrinsic to complex systems
openly deal with deeper dimensions of uncertainty
"Working deliberatively within imperfections"
"How can uncertain science be linked with good governance processes, thereby increasing fisheries management legitimacy and effectiveness?"

ICES advises that a dialogue among decision authorities, fishermen and scientists should aid the design of management rules

: possibilities & limits
: preference & needs
: cross interests, tactical constraints, objectives

Experiences in Europe:
: problemitizing the data and the model(s)
: lobbying
: cards tight to chest, creating negotiation space

Tips to Norwegian stock assessment students (2008):
watch out for the "science boundary" and don't be bait for strong interest groups!
Martin Pastoors, former ICES ACFM Chair;Pelagic Freezer-Trawler
Management Strategy Evaluations (Southern Hemisphere)
Norwegian/EU/North American cases
ICES cases
Fish stock assessment in a nutshell:
create a model-stock that is dependent on some parameters
from this, we associate expected observations
catch at age
survey index at age (using a catchability model)
we compare these observations with the actual observations
the difference is expressed using an objective function
try to find the set of parameters that gives the best fit to the real observed data through an optimization procedure
the model-stock that gives these best parameter values is the estimate of the stock

Significant scripts
What hat are you wearing?
Scripts & roles of fisheries scientists in Europe



Dankel, Stange, Nielsen in prep
“One of my roles is participating in Coastal States meetings – not in the negotiations, but in an advisory capacity, as a scientist. […]. I say things to three different groups: If I say it to my national administration, I’m a [national identity] scientist. If I say it in a delegation meeting involving the EU, then I’m an EU scientist at that point. And if it is a plenary discussion on something, and they need to make reference to me for some description, then I’m an ICES scientist at that point. I’m still the same person, and I am saying exactly the same thing.” (Interview, Scientist, June 2014)
“The [non-EU country] chairman refused to accept the presentation on the management plan, because
[the Chair] wanted to make a public statement that they were not having the (European) Commission telling them what to do
. This was the first time I had actually hit such a public political problem.
It was a bit of a shock
”. (Interview, Scientist, January 2014)

I did not feel responsible for organizing the participatory process.
I assumed throughout the preparations of this meeting that they [the ICES Secretariat] had extended the invitations to the stakeholders. […]. Then I found out maybe four or five days before the meeting that this hadn't happened.
So I basically stepped out of my role as an invited expert to ICES
, or as invited Chair, by inviting the stakeholders/fishing industry., saying:
‘Hey, this meeting is going on. I'm sure that it is intended to be an open meeting. You can participate! Are you coming?’
” (Interview, Scientist, December 2014)
Roles in stock assessment

retired stock assmt scientist, independent consultant
Significant digits
“When an individual plays a part he implicitly requests his observers to
take seriously the impression
that is fostered before them. They are asked to believe that the character they see actually
possesses the attributes
he appears to possess, that the task he performs will have the
consequences that are implicitly claimed for it
, and that, in general,
matters are what they appear to be
– Erving Goffman, “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” p. 26
Quote from Saab motor (5-9 hk semidiesel) manual:
“Går motoren godt, prøv ikke å få den til å gå bedre.”
If the motor is running well, don't try to make it run better

Herring advice 2015
original illustrations: Mariano Collantes
Dorothy J. Dankel, Ph.D.
Fisheries quota advice for management: Significant scripts & significant digits
Researcher, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, UiB
Board Member, Nordic Marine Think Tank
summarized from Dankert Skagen's course (2008)
Full transcript