"In science, there are never two sides. There are multiple outcomes," says Stephen H. Schneider, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for International Studies.
Schneider will discuss the challenges of assessing and communicating scientific risk during a Feb. 15 symposium "Tough Decisions: Dealing with Uncertainty in Managing Marine Fisheries" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle. The symposium, featuring scientists and lawyers who have participated in some of the most controversial marine and environmental policy debates, is co-organized by Josh Eagle, a lecturer at the Stanford School of Law and director of the Stanford Fisheries Policy Project, and Alison Rieser, a professor at the University of Maine School of Law.
"Our panel will focus on how to make decisions about ocean resource use in the face of significant uncertainty for example, how many rockfish fishermen should be allowed to catch this year even though we don't know exactly how many rockfish there are," Eagle says. "We hope to show that it is possible to make good decisions in the face of uncertainty, and we will talk about how this can be done."
Policy and media
At the symposium, Eagle will discuss the ways laws can be designed to ensure that science and policy components of specific decisions are transparent.
Schneider will cull his examples from a different environmental issue, climate change, which he has researched for three decades. A major obstacle, he says, is the "completely inappropriate" model in the press for science communication. Journalists who strive for balanced coverage of science and environmental issues often present
Contact: Mark Shwartz