SCIENTISTS are doing a ‘fantastic job in rubbishing the damaging exaggerations, distortions and selective use of facts’ by some academics, NGOs and environmental journalists writing about fishing, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has said.
The NFFO pointed to a website set up last year by the Science of Fisheries Sustainability which was analysing what it describes as the ‘latest nonsense’.
The had rapidly established itself as the place for a balanced, rigorous, scientific perspective when the latest outlandish claim about fishing appears in the media, or is published in an academic journal, said the NFFO.
‘In recent posts on the website, confused assertions about unaccounted catch and exaggerated claims for marine protected areas have been tackled; and the case is also made for getting the balance right when assessing the environmental impact of fishing compared to other forms of food production.
‘It is telling that the scientific community itself has felt it necessary to set up this forum in which the flood of media distortions about fishing can be challenged by specialists who are deeply steeped in the data and methods of fisheries science.
‘This is a rebalancing exercise after years in which superficial journalism, sometimes aided and abetted by agenda driven but media savvy NGOs, have presented a simplistic catastrophe narrative about fishing that is simply at odds with the facts.
‘Those minded to publish propaganda masquerading as science will know that in future their words will be scrutinised by specialists in the field and misleading exaggerations and distortions will be exposed in short order.’
The cfood website (www.cfooduw.org) was no apologist for overfishing or for minimising the environmental footprint of fishing.
But it was a place where rigour, evidence, and the proper application of the scientific method are valued and as such the NFFO said it welcomed it wholeheartedly.