Making fisheries science accessible

Photo by Kyle Gillespie

Photo by Kyle Gillespie

Text by Madeline Cashion


Public speaking is an intimidating feat for pretty much everyone.

I am an extrovert who actively strives to listen more than talk (usually unsuccessfully…) while in conversation with any number of people, and yet I have a strong physical aversion to speaking in front of an audience in a professional setting. In part, this is because describing your science in a way that is accessible not only to other researchers but to a generalist, non-scientific audience is surprisingly tough. For example, terms that I use every day like gear, landings, discards, and exclusive economic zone are considered jargon to people who do not work with or study fisheries.

To a scientist, using common words in place of jargon seems imprecise and sensationalist. Science communication is difficult in any forum but can be almost impossible when you are in front of an audience and the immobilizing effects of the “fight or flight” response begin to eclipse your confidence.

Here’s a quick anecdote from a recent such experience of my own:

Continue reading

ON VIDEO: Daniel Pauly and the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries

The Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory 120 was packed and people on social media were frantically asking about how to join the Facebook Live stream.

For over an hour, the Sea Around Us Principal Investigator, Daniel Pauly, presented the methods and findings in the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries, which he published in late 2016 together with Dirk Zeller.

For those who could not be in attendance, the IOF’s communications department prepared series of videos that capture the highlights from Pauly’s presentation.

Continue reading

Daniel Pauly named “Scientist of the Year” by Radio Canada

“C’est un honneur,” the Sea Around Us Principal Investigator and UBC Killam Professor with the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Dr. Daniel Pauly said after Radio Canada’s Les Années-lumière named him “Scientist of the Year.”

Pauly is being recognized for his lifelong research efforts on the human impacts on global fisheries, which hit a high note in 2016 with two major publications, both co-authored with Dirk Zeller: The Nature Communications paper “Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining” and the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries, released by Island Press.

Yanick Villedieu, host of Les Années-lumière, explained that the award aims at highlighting the work of a French-speaking scientist who, throughout his/her career but particularly in the past year, had a major discovery, achievement, or publication of national and international significance.

Continue reading

“Zero is not a good estimate”: Sea Around Us on global fisheries

Fish sale at the beach. Photo by indiawaterportal.org, Flickr.

The morning after accepting the 2017 Ocean Award in the Science category, the Sea Around Us leading team, Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller, met with the British press at the Science Media Centre.

After receiving praise for their Nature Communications paper “Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining” and the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries, Pauly and Zeller were asked to explain the Sea Around Us’ findings regarding the fact that global fish catch is 50 per cent higher than what is officially reported by the FAO.

Continue reading