The role that quantitative models play in perception and deliberation has begun to receive increasing attention as a subject within studies of effective communication of science- based policy. Good quantitative models can give decision-makers a better handle on the risks of decisions, but they can also lead experts to be overly confident about their data, have narrow definitions of problems, and overlook important information. When combined with public distrust of models, these factors can undermine attempts to address scientific issues in an inclusive discursive process. Scepticism of scientists and scientific information is particularly acute in fisheries. We have built on work pioneered by Steven Yearley involving focus groups on air pollution models to conduct 25 focus groups on fisheries science and modelling models conducted in five countries across Europe. The respondents in each country included fishing skippers, fish processors, conservation activists, women in fishing communities and local and regional level fisheries managers. The groups shared their opinions about science, its general role in fisheries management and the use of quantitative models in fisheries science. Large differences were found among different types of respondents. No group was confident in the results of fisheries management models, but there were quite different attitudes about how useful they were in helping to navigate the uncertainties of fisheries management.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Stakeholder perceptions of the use and abuse of quantitative models in fisheries

Ditte Degnbol   Aalborg University Copenhagen

Douglas Wilson   Aalborg University

Katia Frangoudes   University of Western Brittany

Jenny Hatchard   JH Fishery Management Services

Troels Hegland   Aalborg University

Ana Pitchon – Aalborg University

The role that quantitative models play in perception and deliberation has begun to receive increasing attention as a subject within studies of effective communication of science- based policy. Good quantitative models can give decision-makers a better handle on the risks of decisions, but they can also lead experts to be overly confident about their data, have narrow definitions of problems, and overlook important information. When combined with public distrust of models, these factors can undermine attempts to address scientific issues in an inclusive discursive process. Scepticism of scientists and scientific information is particularly acute in fisheries. We have built on work pioneered by Steven Yearley involving focus groups on air pollution models to conduct 25 focus groups on fisheries science and modelling models conducted in five countries across Europe. The respondents in each country included fishing skippers, fish processors, conservation activists, women in fishing communities and local and regional level fisheries managers. The groups shared their opinions about science, its general role in fisheries management and the use of quantitative models in fisheries science. Large differences were found among different types of respondents. No group was confident in the results of fisheries management models, but there were quite different attitudes about how useful they were in helping to navigate the uncertainties of fisheries management.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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