Title: Fisheries management in a sea of uncertainty: the role and responsibility of scientists in attaining a precautionary approach

Authors: Lene Buhl-Mortensen, Reidar Toresen

Addresses: Marine Environmental Sciences, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, PO Box 1006, 1 Challenger Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada. ' Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, N-5024 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: On the political level, there is now an agreement that the fish stocks in the North Sea should be managed in accordance with the precautionary principle. The goal of this paper is to show that fisheries scientists will have to adapt to the new requirements represented by this principle, first and foremost by adjusting the model of decision-making in a way that facilitates communication of the uncertainties involved in their advice to the managers and stakeholders. The paper consists of three parts. First, a general description of fisheries management in the North Atlantic area managed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is presented; second, the collapse of the North Sea herring stock is used as a case to illustrate the uncertainty involved in fisheries management and how it has been handled by scientists and managers; finally, the obligation of scientists involved in fisheries research in relation to the political goal of a precautionary management is discussed.

Keywords: fishery management; herring; precautionary approach; scientists| responsibility; uncertainty.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2001.004447

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2001 Vol.4 No.3, pp.245 - 264

Published online: 29 Apr 2004 *

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