A O U
Vindication

(Note - addresses for the various citations ( {1}, {2} ,{3}, etc.
will appear at the end of this paper.
Further emphases are mine)

Vindication

It's been my point all along that commercial fishermen haven't been responsible for the collapse of any fishery. It has been the deliberately malicious noisy perception put forth by those whom I call The Enemy {2} that commercial fishermen are the sole reason responsible for the collapse. That deliberately and demonstrably false perception that has slandered me, my family, my history, my friends, my industry, is what I think has angered me most.

The Enemy has been masquerading as "scientists" and cloaking their deliberate distortions, fallacious positions, arcane convoluted management schemes behind the shameful facade of "science". There is now a paper

{1} by Dr. Gary Sharp on the Internet exposing the charlatans of Fishery Science.
Excerpts From:


Dr. Sharp (in his own words and type size: {5}

" Unfortunately, the general loss of credibility of Science will likely be the most substantive issue to be faced, by the time these other important messages are learned."

  1. I am not alone in my skepticism and despair regarding short-term agency funding cycles - many otherwise un-supported academic and government scientists - and their methods for creating myths of "crisis" and "dread factors" in their zeal to maintain their bleary roles in recent science history. I worry about the public's perceptions and perceived credibility of all Science as claims are made that may prove to be misleading, or worse, simply wrong!

  2. {1} calls "CPUE (Catch per Unit Effort)","Yield-per-Recruit", "VPA" "faulty assumptions".(He points out other similar impressive sounding manufactured pseudo-scientific terms.)

  3. {1} "Clearly, management under single species sustained yield concepts is simply inappropriate, and counter productive."

  4. {1} "'fisheries science would have a different history if the North Sea were subject to frequent El Nińos'. Instead, the North Atlantic is subject to patterns of variation that are on the order of life times, 40-50 years which in itself allows each side of any argument over fishing versus nature to be right for half a career. "

  5. {1} "These and other available fishery related records provide more than enough reason to rethink the basis for management of ocean fish resources. "

  6. {1} "..... it would be wiser to include more environmental analysis in management plans, and decision making, rather than to adhere blindly to rather inappropriate models that assume stability and relative equilibrium conditions. Models operating without concern for natural climate trends and cycles (i.e., under the assumption of long term sustainability) cannot but be misleading and actually cause economic over-exploitation, when that is neither desirable nor likely to be borne out in time. The problems of fisheries management cannot be resolved until fisheries management evolves past these assumptions, and like the climate modeling efforts, include sufficient information and interactions that they can be useful in projections."

  7. {1} "Critical habitat degradations and losses define the principal issues of anadromous and estuarine species. In less sophisticated settings usually associated with but certainly not limited to developing nations, general absence of information along with the underlying ignorance of and about coastal subsistence fishers can only lead to despair for natural resources, and dwindling environmental quality. "

  8. {1} "A few tens or a hundred individuals sampled from each area is not a sufficient statistical sample for any rigorous study, for more than inferential or taxonomic purposes.An important related management problem is that the "inconvenience" of complex stock structures has in most cases been assumed away, as data from ever broader ranging fisheries are merged to produce population biomass estimates, from which most fisheries are managed."

  9. {1} "To date, few or no fisheries management plans include environmental contexts."

  10. {1} " I cannot condone the guessing or parameterization that has become the hallmarks of context free ocean fisheries stock assessments (Ricker 1975, Gulland 1983)."

  11. {1} "Dichotomies abound in fisheries science. On one hand, agency population dynamicists hold their statistical training out as a license to criticize any and every empirical study made in the attempts to organize a cause-effect, or simple stimulus-response framework for applications in fisheries management. They have, somehow, as a group convinced themselves that anything they agree to accept as an assumption, for the sake of solving messy mathematical equations, is justified, even if these "principles" do not fit empirical observations (c.f. Finlayson 1994). What if they were wrong? Well, then it is always easy enough to "adjust" the parameters, or restate their conclusions in hind-sight, such that the ranges of possible solutions encompassed any new findings. "

  12. {1} "Sensitivity analysis has long been in vogue as a "cheap" substitute for direct experimentation. It remains a puzzle what that once the fisheries modelers construct and adopt another "convention" that contradictory empirical observations can, and likely will be ignored. That is not science. That is theology (per Dayton 1979)."

  13. {1} "Unvalidated, "consensus truths" are, of course, "the enemy" in the real world of scientific endeavor. Many empiricists and disbelievers suffer constant lashes from many such truth-by-consensus, pseudo-scientific conventions. This behavior is rampant in the competition for funds and recognition amongst so-called "peers". The problem is not unique to fisheries science, but is rife in natural resource research issues, particularly the "Global Warming" debate and its associated "peer-driven" funding grabs. "

  14. {1} "Wrong concepts and assumptions are rampant in fisheries models. ......."

  15. {1} "Consider also the disconnect within the older and prerecruit populations that takes place when Biomass and Fishing Effort are the sole contributing information to this approach. For most pelagic species, these are fundamentally wrong assumptions (c.f., Koslow 1992, Sharp 1981, 1995)."

  16. {1} "It is nearly impossible to find supportive data for many conventional (perhaps convenient is a better term) fishery modeling assumptions,....."

  17. {1} "Convergence on the concept of management for near-constant fishable stock biomass during the 1960-1980s was misleading, initiating inappropriate reactions once a fishery system began a regime change. "

  18. {1} " yet no one is really being heard over the "chanting priesthood" (per Hilborn, 1992) to deliver the obvious messages. "

  19. {1} "exploitation of the major living aquatic resources in the face of continuous environmental change. Typical X-Y plots from fisheries data or models, with "best fit" lines, ALWAYS underestimate the good and overestimate the bad. Fitting averages through time series has similar logical consequences."

  20. {1} "What has not worked is modeling fisheries via elegant applications of mean expectations, or worse, through inappropriate Monte Carlo simulations, claiming mathematical rigor, but generating logical chaos."

  21. {4} "Among the many pathways taken by would-be resource managers, that leading away from data gathering and observations, toward modeling from numerical parameterizations has nearly driven many aquatic and forest resources into unsustainability, within the last half of this century."

  22. {4} "Much of the problem has been described as the result of a 'lack of political will', which is to say a failure of government to look after the common properties. I maintain that just as much of the problem lies with the scientific communities whose lack of basic understanding has been codified in ritual methodologies and methods that ignore many factors over which humans have no control, and therefore "assume" into some convenient statistical patterns that serves their mathematical needs, rather than the realities of nature."

  23. {4} "....much of fisheries science over the recent decade has been focused on annual data sets, ritualized data reductions, and "smoothing" procedures that minimize the information contents of the resulting information. The result has been less than satisfactory. Alternate procedures, and better integration of information are not only available, but timely to reconsider."

  24. {5} "....skepticism and despair regarding short-term agency funding cycles - many otherwise un-supported academic and government scientists - and their methods for creating myths of "crisis" and "dread factors" in their zeal to maintain their bleary roles in recent science history. "

  25. {5} " passed about by fear mongering funding chasers "

  26. {5} "Federal Agency scientists, particularly NASA scientists. In their zeal these mostly irresponsible individuals ..."
(End of Excerpts)

To be fair, Dr. Sharp is not advocating Open Oceans or anything like it. I suspect we would have some deep conflicts in opinion on how to manage fisheries or whether some even need to be managed at all.

Dr. Sharp's area of expertise is apparently in long term (centuries, millennia) climate effects. The points I have excerpted are only some of his criticisms of what passes for "science" in fishery management. His concern seems less, I think sometimes, for the fisheries than it is for the atrociously bad name self proclaimed "fishery experts" are bring down on all science.

I know how he feels. I feel the same way, far worse actually, about the bad name they have incautiously and without any foundation brought down on Commercial Fishermen.

He makes the point, and I heartily concur, the reason for the decline in fisheries is due to a whole host of intricately interrelated dynamic environmental factors. If you are to believe the current and past crops of what passes for fishery "science" then you are led to believe commercial fishing is the sole reason for fishery declines. That is simply not the case but it has been the easiest straw man to build.

What is the case is that fraudulent science has been foisted on the public at the sole expense of commercial fishermen to further the careers of ambitious charlatans trading on the reputation of science.


References

{1} Rethinking Fisheries Management

{2} The Enemy

{3} Dr. Sharp's resume (it's impressive)

{4} Oceanic Fishes and Physics: Lessons From Fisheries

{5} Global Warming



End of Vindication

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