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The Paradoxes of Transparency

The Paradoxes of Transparency: Science and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in Europe

Douglas Clyde Wilson
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Paradoxes of Transparency
    Book Description:

    The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is the central scientific network within the massive set of bureaucracies that is responsible for Europe's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). While spending the past 25 years failing to sustain Europe's fish stocks, this management system also became adept at making the lives of its scientists miserable. Now it is being confronted by the complex challenge of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. If this combination of a multi-national bureaucracy, hard politics, and scientific uncertainty has made it impossible to maintain many individual fish stocks, how are decisions going to be made that consider everything from sea birds to climate change? The old political saw that "if you can't solve a problem, make it bigger" has never been put to a test like this! Yet ICES has begun to rise in an impressive way to the scientific challenge of providing advice for an ecosystem approach within the world's most cumbersome fisheries management system. This book lays out the results of extensive sociological research on ICES and the decision making systems into which it feeds. ICES is finding ways to provide effective advice in the many situations where scientific advice is needed but a clear, simple answer is out of reach. In spite of the difficulties, scientists are beginning to help the various parties concerned with management to deal with facts about nature in ways that are more useful and transparent. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0645-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-8)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 9-12)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. 13-14)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 15-16)
    Douglas Clyde Wilson
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 17-18)
  6. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 19-34)

    The topic of this book covers institutional aspects of providing natural science advice for the fisheries management programmes of the European Union and its immediate neighbours, particularly as they turn towards the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM). In many ways it is a straightforward application of the sociology of science. It applies various research methods and theoretical perspectives to the work of fisheries scientists in Europe to try to draw some insights on how we can do a better job structuring science for environmental decision-making in general and for the marine environment in particular.

    That is the topic but...

  7. 2. Some general theoretical guides for understanding the role of science in society
    (pp. 35-52)

    Culture and science are bound together in ways we are often barely conscious of. While the more radical reflections on science and society may not have much practical use, they remind us of the weight of the cultural baggage on the science we are trying to harness to practical ends. To me, the most illuminating of these radical reflections comes from the Frankfurt School. This group of thinkers began to blend sociology and philosophy in the 1930s and 1940s to explain the rise of fascism. Communicative Systems Theory (CST) arose from this tradition a generation later. For them, science is...

  8. 3. Developing scientific advice for policy
    (pp. 53-90)

    Over the last 25 years or so, many social and natural scientists have begun to ask, some more and some less systematically, under what circumstances scientific findings are able to influence policy. Most of these investigations have been motivated by frustrations over the seemingly slow response of policymakers to environmental issues.

    One of the most useful efforts to examine the use of science in policy is the Global Environmental Assessment Project, a large comparative research project carried out by the Kennedy School on the policy uptake of results from global scientific assessments (Cash and Clark 2001; Cash et al. 2002;...

  9. 4. The Science Assembly System for European fisheries management
    (pp. 91-134)

    When carrying out a case study, it is always an interesting question what the borders of the case actually are. During the course of this study, the way I was thinking about the object of my research would subtly shift. In the beginning it was the institutions involved in the production and use of scientific advice in support of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). That way of thinking about the case eventually became both too broad and too narrow: too broad because there are so many such institutions that merely describing them in a balanced fashion would be an entire,...

  10. 5. Attitudes and working conditions of ICES advisory scientists
    (pp. 135-160)

    The focus of this chapter is the experience and attitudes of individual scientists within the fisheries advisory system. Most of the information is taken from the survey of fisheries scientists, but we have added a number of quotes from meetings and in-depth interviews where this helps give a fuller picture. One important task is to compare the experience of fisheries scientists who are more involved in the advice generation system with that of their colleagues who are less involved.

    Most of the tables draw comparisons between scientists who work for different kinds of employers or based on the type of...

  11. 6. Science for the ecosystem approach to fisheries management
    (pp. 161-210)

    The scientific advisory system for European fisheries management is in a process of rapid change. The internal pressures described in the previous chapter mean that there is a strong desire for change within the scientific community. These demands take several forms. The fishing industry is looking for advice that extends beyond one year. The environmental community, along with many scientists and backed up by international agreements, is looking for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. The fisheries managers in Brussels are looking for advice that they can apply to mixed fisheries. ICES is looking for ways to respond to all...

  12. 7. The debate over the reorganisation of the ICES Advisory Programme
    (pp. 211-258)

    This final chapter in the ICES case study examines a recent episode of restructuring the Advisory Programme. This restructuring provided an interesting research opportunity. Chapter 6 presented the institutional issues around developing an effective scientific knowledge base for the EAFM. The debates around restructuring the Advisory Programme allow us to examine how the EAFM requirements fared as just one of the issues driving the restructuring. As an intergovernmental organisation charged with producing scientific advice in a high-stakes, high-uncertainty environment, ICES is a political system as much as anything else. An episode of major change allows the political tensions to come...

  13. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 259-280)

    In spite of the fact that the system of marine management that ICES feeds into has not been a successful one, I believe that this case study is a substantially positive example, and that ICES has lessons to offer to other institutions seeking to produce knowledge that can support an ecosystem approach. Of course, I cannot claim that ICES has been ‘successful’ in a general sense because the EAFM is only really beginning in earnest, and ICES plays one set of roles among many in determining policy outcomes. However, I do think that ICES has approached the EAFM in a...

  14. References
    (pp. 281-294)
  15. Appendix 1: Methods and Procedures of the Random Sample Attitude Survey
    (pp. 295-298)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 299-300)
  17. Index
    (pp. 301-303)