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Subject: Re: False balance in news stories about overfishing
From: Patrick Cordue <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 5 Jul 2013 15:06:53 +1200
Content-Type:text/plain
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Hi All,

I did visit the blog and I tend to agree with the reporter that he did not
present a "false balance". On one side were scientific findings and on the
other was the opinion of  a fisher based on anecdotal observations. I agree
with the reporter that  most readers would discount, to some extent, the
opinion of an interested party.

The phrase "best available science" is often used and indeed many a stock
assessment review has to decide whether a given stock assessment constitutes
the "best available science". I think that results from heavily
advocacy-based research cannot be considered as science - so such results
fail to be the "best available". Also, assessments that are badly
technically flawed should also be excluded (they might be "available", but
they are not the "best available" because they are simply not "good
enough"). I agree with Todd, to some extent, the phrase is far from ideal. A
better question (for stock assessment review) is whether an assessment is
reliable enough on which to base management decisions - that is the key
question for stock assessments I think.

Todd, I would note that data are almost always biased in a strict
statistical sense. If X is a random variable, where E(X) = theta, and x is a
realization of the random variable, then E(x) = x and the bias of x (as an
estimator of theta) is E(x) - theta = x - theta. Perhaps, your question
would have been better phrased as "what if the assumptions with regards to
the data are badly violated, is that still better than no data??" And, the
answer to that is "it depends" - on how "bad" the assumptions are, because,
almost without exception, in fisheries, the data and model assumptions are
violated to some extent.


Regards
Patrick Cordue

-----Original Message-----
From: Scientific forum on fish and fisheries
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Todd Miller
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2013 1:51 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: False balance in news stories about overfishing

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           REPLIES WILL BE SENT TO THE FISH-SCI LIST <><  <><  <><  <><  <><
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Hi,
I didn't visit your blog but I'd just like to add caution to your example of
using fishers and scientists in your email. I wouldn't always assume the
scientists have better or information on a fishery or spp., and I've seen a
lot of advocacy-based research out there that's cause for concern. Also the
concept of 'best available science' is absolute garbage. What if the data is
biased, is that still better than no data?? Some things to consider.

Todd Miller



On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 1:14 AM, David Shiffman
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>
>            REPLIES WILL BE SENT TO THE FISH-SCI LIST <><  <><  <><  
> <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><  <><
>
> Hello, everyone, and happy 4th of July!
>
> I've written a post about "false balance" (usually associated with 
> climate change coverage) in news stories covering overfishing. False 
> balance is when the media gives equal coverage, and therefore the 
> perception of equal validity, to both sides of a story when both sides 
> aren't equally supported by facts. In this case, a quote by a 
> commercial fishermen and lobbyist claiming that hammerhead populations 
> are healthy was inaccurately portrayed as just as valid as the best 
> available scientific data showing that populations have been severely
depleted.
>
> I welcome your feedback, including pointing out other examples of such 
> false balance.
>
> http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=15088
>
> Thank you!
>
> Sincerely,
>
> --
>
> *David Shiffman*
> *Ph.D. Student, Research Assistant,*
> Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy 
> <http://www.cesp.miami.edu/> R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program 
> <http://rjd.miami.edu/>
>
> [image: RJD]
>
> *e: *[log in to unmask] | *p: *412.915.2309
> *a: *4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, Florida, 33149
> *t: *@WhySharksMatter <http://twitter.com/#!/WhySharksMatter> | *b:
> *Southern
> Fried Science Blog <http://www.southernfriedscience.com/>
>
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