By Hugh Possingham, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Size is not all that matters for marine reserves. Most countries tout the enormity of their marine reserves. However one issue that is just as important as size, is representation. If a reserve system does not represent the diversity of habitat/ecosystem types, then it is not doing its job. Australia's commonwealth marine protected areas look good – but their coverage of bioregions is highly inequitable in areas where there is a lot of prospective fossil fuel.
Who should decide? Science and policy in decision making
By David Policansky, National Research Council, Washington DC USA
In an ideal world, science should provide information to policy makers to help them make wiser decisions. Although this does happen sometimes in the real world, often it does not. Scientists sometimes think that science should determine the outcome of a decision, and policy makers sometimes ignore science when it points in inconvenient directions. At the U.S. National Research Council (NRC), we are asked by government to provide scientific advice on matters of science relevant to policy. In my presentation in Vancouver December 6, I will discuss one case where the NRC provided advice on what factors were threatening Atlantic salmon in Maine, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and presented options for reducing or mitigating the threats. Making a clear distinction between science advice and policy advice was a challenge the committee successfully addressed, and this made the advice potentially more useful. Making the actual decisions requires that stakeholders--people who will pay for and be affected by the actions--provide input into their evaluations of the costs and benefits of the decisions.