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Free Content Every which way but up: the sad story of Atlantic groundfish, featuring Northern cod and North Sea cod

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The histories of the collapses of Northern cod (eastern Canada) and North Sea cod (northern Europe) are reviewed, on the basis of a chronology of the events and themes discussed during the science advisory meetings on the stocks and the subsequent management decisions. Although some important biological details of the collapses differed, the science and management activities conducted during the declines showed both a number of similarities and some key differences in process. From these similarities and differences several lessons emerge. In particular, science advice is unbiased but uncertain, management responses to advice are asymmetric and favor good news, response time of the full science-management process is too slow to prevent major declines, uncertainty increases during the onset of declines, only swift management action can stem declines at their onset, the process is highly vulnerable to politicization, and poor fishing practices increase just when the stock is most vulnerable. Each of these problems could be addressed, but little evidence indicates that the lessons have yet been learned.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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