Reflections on the failure of traditional fisheries management
Corkett, Christopher John
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A traditional fisheries management or fish stock assessment takes a Lamarckian-like instructive view of fisheries science that involves an inductive monism. Its invalid inductive arguments have no problem solving capacity and are responsible for the collapse of some of the World's largest Gadoid fisheries including Newfoundland's 'northern cod' in the early 1990s. If we are to solve our management problems, an instructive view of fisheries science will need to be replaced with a problem-solving critical dualism involving downward causation in which (I) norms are chosen by the participants and not predicted as MSYs and MEYs and (ii) a fishery is managed by the method of 'selection by error elimination' guided by 'there-is-not' rules such as the Universal Law of Sustainability. Like me, the ecologist Tony Underwood has developed a Popperian program of research; but here the logical technical term 'falsification' has been viewed from a distance as the word 'false'. This linguistic mistake has had drastic consequences; the discipline of ecology has been turned into a pseudoscience, a non-falsifiable science incapable of guiding the management of a commercial fishery. The absurdicy that a traditional fisheries management should seek instruction from the environment in the form of 'facts' or data instead of subjecting bold tentative policies to a Darwinian-like selection by error elimination, results in a monism of 'scientific' ethics. That is: an ethics in which norms (values) are not chosen by the participants, but are viewed as scientifically achievable predictions.