Stories and Sense-Making — How Human Minds Fish for Meaning
University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Is U.S. Fisheries Policy Working? Getting the Message to Congress
The Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Conservation Act of 1976 is the primary piece of federal legislation governing fisheries whose objectives include: exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing all fish within the exclusive economic zone; to promote domestic commercial and recreational fishing under sound conservation and management principles; to provide for the preparation and implementation, in accordance with national standards, of fishery management plans which will achieve and maintain, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery; to encourage the development by the United States fishing industry of fisheries which are currently underutilized or not utilized by United States fishermen. Optimum yield is defined the yield from a fishery, means the amount of fish which will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production and recreational opportunities, and taking into account the protection of marine ecosystems.
This talk will focus on how the U.S. is doing with respect to these objectives, and my perspective on how scientists can let Congress know how well we are doing, and help Congress make good decisions. I will discuss the success at rebuilding fish stocks and protection of marine ecosystems, a mix of success and failure at producing benefits to food production, and recreational fishing opportunities. I will discuss my limited experiences at communicating with Congress through invited testimony to House and Senate committee hearings over 25 years, and two separate briefings of Congressional staff.
Ray Hilborn is a Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington specializing in natural resource management and conservation. He authored several books including Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Ulrike Hilborn) in 2012, Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment with Carl Walters in 1992, and The Ecological Detective: Confronting Models With Data with Marc Mangel, in 1997. He has also published over 300 peer reviewed articles and served on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals, including seven years on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science Magazine. He has received the Volvo Environmental Prize, the American Fisheries Societies Award of Excellence, The Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award, and the International Fisheries Science Prize. He is a Fellow of the American Fisheries Society, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources
Fish and Fisheries in Hot Water: (How) Do We Adapt?
The same ecological and evolutionary processes operate in marine and terrestrial environments, and yet ocean life thrives in a fluid environment that is dramatically different from what we experience in air. The ocean is, in effect, a 1.3 sextillion liter water bath with muted thermal variation through time and space and limited oxygen. In this talk, I will trace what I see as some of the important consequences for fish and fisheries, including a number of striking contrasts and similarities to patterns on land. Most marine animals have evolved narrow thermal tolerances and live close to their upper thermal limits, which makes them surprisingly sensitive to even small changes in temperature. I will show that fish and other marine animals have responded rapidly and often quite predictably to temperature change and temperature trends, across time-scales from seasons to decades. Finally, I will link these rapid ocean changes to their impacts on fisheries and on people. The tight feedbacks and lagged responses between fisheries and ocean dynamics create both immediate impacts and complex dynamics that can complicate management efforts. The magnitude and extent of climate impacts on fisheries imply the need for a new era of climate-ready management more fully informed by environmental dynamics and long-term trends.
Malin Pinsky, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in Ocean Sciences at Rutgers University. There, he leads a research group studying the ecology and evolution of global change in the ocean, including conservation and management solutions. He developed and maintains the OceanAdapt website to document shifting ocean animals in North America, a resource used by governments and NGOs for climate adaptation planning. He has published articles in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, and other international journal, and his research has received extensive coverage in the press, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, CBC, and National Public Radio. He has received early career awards and fellowships from the National Academy of Sciences, American Society of Naturalists, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Previously, he was a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Princeton University. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University, an A.B. from Williams College, and roots along the coast of Maine.
Lynda V. Mapes
The Seattle Times
Truth-telling in the Salish Sea: The Black Art of Communicating Climate Change
I will discuss the essential link between a free press, and free scientific inquiry. In a world of fake news, how do scientists, and journalists get the truth out to the public and policy makers that need to hear it, in ways they will listen? What is the unique contribution that science has to make to the public policy debate? How do scientists get their data beyond the realm of technical papers and the academy to the public realm where it can make a difference – without tarting up, compromising or dumbing down the findings? How do reporters communicate science to a lay audience that may be unfamiliar to – and not even necessarily open to – what science has to say? Truth Telling in the Salish Sea is talk not only about the how-to of effective science communication, but why it is so critical.
Lynda Mapes is the environment reporter at The Seattle Times, and author of five books. Over the course of her career she has won numerous national and regional awards, most recently a 2012 award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest professional science association. She has written four previous books, most recently Witness Tree, published by Bloombury in April, 2017 which tells the story of climate change through the life of a single 100-year old oak. Her book Elwha, a River Reborn (Mountaineers Books, 2013) about the largest dam removal project ever in history and the effort to restore a wilderness watershed in Washington’s Olympic National Park, and its once legendary salmon runs was also the subject of a major exhibit at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Her forthcoming book, Rescuing Rialto, (Houghton Mifflin, 2019) Lynda’s first children’s book, tells the story of the rescue and rehabilitation of a baby sea otter orphaned on Washington’s Rialto beach. In 2013-14 Lynda was awarded a 9-month Knight fellowship in Science Journalism at MIT. In 2014-15 she was a Bullard Fellow at the Harvard Forest, exploring the human and natural history of a single, 100-year old oak for her book, Witness Tree. She lives in Seattle.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Oceans and Atmosphere
Caught in the Middle: Sustaining Fisheries in a Changing Climate
In a world of changing climate and increasing human population size, fisheries are caught between the pressures of changing climatic influences on productivity and distribution and increasing market demand. Sustaining marine fisheries in the face of these two global drivers of change increasingly calls for Global Approaches to Fisheries. Whilst a stretch from current approaches, there are several modelling and related tools that can be developed and used to address the increasing complexity and global connectedness of fisheries systems as well as account for changing targets and baselines. For example, global approaches include self-analysis of us humans and our role in the ecosystem, analysing fishery supply chains, and considering non-stationary conservation goals and food needs. Being prepared for climate change and responding appropriately to changes in the state and organization of ecosystems, and their dependent societies, requires pre-tested strategies and adaptation options. I make the case also that the success of future sustainability initiatives depends largely on effective communication, and may require a re-think of conventional objectives and targets for fisheries management. Moreover, we should not lose sight of the value of data as our science becomes increasingly immersed in a cyber-world of simulation testing and our fisheries face increasing changes with no historical analogues.
Dr. Éva Plagányi is a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia. Her research is strongly interdisciplinary and focuses on the biological modelling of marine resources and ecosystems. Current projects include Torres Strait tropical rock lobster, bêche de mer and finfish, and she leads the development of MICE (Models of Intermediate Complexity for Ecosystem assessments) including applications involving outbreaking crown-of-thorns starfish impacting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. She earned a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in 2004, and moved to CSIRO in 2009. As a member of the Lenfest forage fish task force, she contributed to research on global management recommendations for forage fish. Her research has contributed to the management of marine resources, from krill to whales, and has been applied inter-alia in Australia, South Africa and Antarctica.
University of Washington, Marine and Environmental Affairs
The Climate-Chemistry Connection: Sustaining Fisheries in an Acidified Ocean
Changes in seawater chemistry associated with ocean acidification affect fished species through multiple modes of action. Direct modes of action include the effects of different carbon system variables on critical life processes such as growth and development and on neurotransmission and behavior. Indirect modes of action include OA-related changes in the distribution and abundance of predators and prey and through changes in food quality. Biological responses to ocean acidification are modified by changes in other environmental variables, for example temperature and dissolved oxygen. Bivalve species are among the groups likely to be affected by near-term ocean acidification and can serve as useful models for inferring the future of fished species.
Terrie Klinger is Director of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, Co-Director of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, and holds the Stan and Alta Barer Endowed Professorship in Sustainability Science in honor of Dr. Edward Miles. Trained as a marine ecologist, she studies ecosystem-based approaches to managing natural resources in the ocean, the ecological effects of environmental stressors such as habitat loss and ocean acidification, and how rocky intertidal communities respond to and recover from disturbance. The Pacific Northwest and the Gulf of Alaska are her primary study areas. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Minding the Gap: Spanning the Boundary Between Science and Policy
The question of how best to ensure that science is considered within policy-making is a pressing one. One solution is to “span the boundaries” between science and policy and create a more comprehensive and inclusive knowledge exchange process. This approach aims to improve the chances that research results and decision-making needs are more closely aligned, and includes accounting for the many types of perspectives, values, and types of knowledge involved. A challenge, however, is that sufficiently accounting for all of these moving parts can be quite an undertaking. Boundary organizations and individuals take on this work as a specific practice. The Lenfest Ocean Program, a grant-making program at The Pew Charitable Trusts, has been operating as a boundary organization for the last 13 years, with the aim of both producing and integrating policy-relevant science into decision-making about the marine environment. In this talk, I will describe the Program’s approach and outcomes, and explore some of the broader opportunities and challenges in engaging in boundary-spanning.
Angela Bednarek is a project director at The Pew Charitable Trusts in the environmental science division. She develops strategies for enhancing and assessing the policy relevance of the division’s research investments. This includes developing scholarship and convening scholars and practitioners on improving the connections between science and policy. Before joining Pew, Bednarek was a foreign affairs officer and AAAS Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Environmental Policy. While at the State Department, she was responsible for negotiating U.S. positions on the Global Environmental Facility, OECD, the environmental impacts of World Bank projects and international chemicals agreements. In addition, she served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Dams and Development Project. She has also held several fellowships in environmental policy, including one at the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York and a Morris K. Udall Fellowship in Environmental Public Policy and Conflict Resolution. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and studio art from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in biology from the University of Louisville, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lancaster University, Political Ecology, Environment Centre
Towards Socially and Nutritionally Sensitive Fisheries
The social sciences have been largely absent in fisheries management and science, yet they have a lot to offer. Societies and the environments in which they co-exist are inextricably linked and the relationships people form with nature are complex, dynamic, and contextual. Understanding and managing these relationships requires sustained engagement with the depth and breadth of the social sciences (Hicks et al. 2016a). Here I present work on some of the recent developments that draw on the social sciences to understand marine ecosystem changes. I highlight how rapid changes in underlying social drivers, such as markets, technological innovations, and polices often precede ecosystem shifts (Hicks et al 2016b). However, managing social drivers requires an understanding that the benefits people gain from nature are socially differentiated, and dependent on a range of social and political mechanisms, such as wealth, knowledge, and status, rather than the underlying ecology (Hicks & Cinner 2014). Sustaining fisheries in this changing environmental and economic climate will involve moving towards a deeper engagement with the social sciences. Such progress will reveal that many of our greatest environmental challenges are exacerbated by the ways in which we have viewed human environment relationships, and sought to address emerging environmental challenges. For example, when we view fish as a source of income, a source of protein, or a source of health, we fail to distinguish characteristics and focus on limitless benefits. However, when we view fish as contributing to culture, social, or nutritional status, a far more nuanced picture emerges, that is focused on satisfying needs. Here I suggest that developing socially and nutritionally sensitive fisheries has the potential to satisfy needs while reducing effort.
Christina is an Environmental Social Scientist interested in the relationships individuals and societies form with nature; how these relationships shape people’s social, environmental, and health outcomes; and how they create sustainable livelihood choices. Christina’s research focuses on small-scale fisheries under changing social and environmental conditions, and tackles three broad themes: 1) Ensuring socially and ecologically sustainable access to fisheries nutrition; 2) Integrating social theories into ecosystem services research and, 3) Building fisheries governance capacity. Christina has worked on the east coast of Africa, in the Pacific, Australia, and the US. She is an assistant professor within the Political Ecology group at Lancaster University’s Environment Centre. She gained her PhD from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, after which she held an Early Career Social Science Fellowship at the Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University.
Colby College, Environmental Studies
Can Historical Ecology Inform Fisheries Sustainability?
Historical ecology offers insight into long term changes to marine animals and ecosystems. While the focus has been on the effects of exploitation, this approach can also offer insights into the effects of warming waters on fish and fisheries. This talk will describe historical ecology’s application to understanding long term ecological change and provide examples of how historical data can help understand the effects of climate change on marine fisheries.
Loren McClenachan is a marine ecologist interested in long term changes to marine animal populations. Her research focuses on historical ecology and the applied use of baselines, fisheries conservation, and marine extinction risk and consequences. She aims to quantify ecological change and identify conservation success over centuries and across large geographic areas in order to halt declines and promote recovery of marine animals and ecosystems.
The University of British Columbia, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
Climate Change, Seafood Production and the Future of Fisheries
Global seafood production from fisheries and mariculture contributes substantially to food security, health, economic benefits and livelihood opportunities of our society. Climate change is challenging the sustainability of seafood production through changes in the coupled human and natural marine systems such as ocean primary productivity, trophic dynamics, the economics of fishing, market access and dynamics, as well as local and global ocean governance. Moreover, non-climatic human drivers such as over-exploitation, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction are affecting the sensitivity of seafood production systems to climate change. There is a need to develop approaches that integrate these factors and drivers to project future seafood production under climate change. Here, I will explore approaches that integrate human and natural dimensions of marine systems to understand climate change impacts on future seafood production and their implications for sustainable development. These approaches range from expert-based assessment to quantitative models that integrate across biophysical and social-economic components. Furthermore, I will discuss the utilities of these approaches in examining the effectiveness of ocean-based solution options in mitigating and adapting climate change impacts on marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.
William Cheung is an Associate Professor and the Director of Science of the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC. His research addresses the key challenges in understanding and predicting the responses of marine ecosystems and fisheries to global changes, as well as identifying and evaluating solution options to ensure the sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems and communities.
The Story Collider
Stories and Sense-Making — How Human Minds Fish for Meaning
In the 2018 Bevan series, speakers grapple with the uncertainties and complexities of sustainable fisheries in a changing climate. Although we call it “fisheries management”, it is most frequently the attempt to manage human beliefs and human behaviors. Fortunately, we have rich theoretical and empirical foundations for both conceptualizing and approaching these challenges. We know that data are essential but insufficient on their own. We know that people make sense of the world around them, and make decisions about their actions, through narrative. We know that internalized stories shape policymaking and media frames, as well as influencing technological innovation, market dynamics, and even the interpretation of new biological data. The question is, what will we do with this knowledge? This talk will explore research on storytelling and persuasion, and critically consider how and why busy fisheries biologists might approach adding something like “narrative competency” to their repertoire.
Liz Neeley is the Executive Director of The Story Collider. In live shows across the country, a weekly podcast, and intensive workshops, The Story Collider is dedicated to producing true, personal stories about science. After a decade of work in ocean conservation and science communication, Liz wanted to more deeply explore the performance and substance of narratives. From 2008 to 2015, she worked as the Assistant Director of Science Outreach for COMPASS, and was affiliate staff at The University of Washington during that time. Before that, she worked on locally-managed marine conservation in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, and on international trade policies for deep-sea corals. Her approach to communication is influenced by her graduate research at Boston University on the evolution of visual communication systems in tropical reef fishes. She was on the advisory board of the CommLab at MIT 2015-2017, and is currently sits on the Advisory Council of Ensia magazine, and holds a Lecturer appointment at Yale University. She is a contributing author to Science Blogging: The Essential Guide (2016), Effective Risk Communication (2015), and Escape From the Ivory Tower (2010). Find her on twitter at @LizNeeley.