The challenge of communicating science effectively in fisheries management

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Science Communication in South Africa: Reflections on Current Issues

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African Minds

This chapter presents a short case study of a particular field of science communication: scientific advice to decision-makers1 in fisheries management. Scientific advice to decision-makers is a special type of science communication, as it is directly linked to political decisions. Thus, the advisory process requires certain institutional structures that guarantee the quality of the process. The chapter commences with a very brief introduction to fisheries management: what are the basic objectives, and what makes them difficult to attain. It then proceeds to summarise the basic structures that underlie the process of developing scientific advice for fisheries management measures, and of transmitting this advice to decision-makers (such as the government ministers responsible) for final decisions. This is discussed both in a South African and international context, addressing whether they are working and where the problems lie. Finally, problems in the way scientists try to communicate scientific results in these processes are highlighted, with some suggestions given of how they might be improved.