By Connell Smith, CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2017 7:30 AM AT Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017 12:58 PM AT
Few would disagree that in combatting serious anthropogenic ecological problems, such as climate change, public policy development should be informed by the best available scientific information. However, with the vast volume of information now available through multiple communication methods and with public resources constrained by current austerity measures, an urgent need exists to understand and strengthen the channels by which scientific information reaches policy- and decision-makers.
Science, Information, and Policy Interface for Effective Coastal and Ocean Management is a timely publication in the midst of this period of crisis and opportunity. This volume is the first to focus exclusively on the role of scientific information in the development of coastal and ocean policy and management of the oceans.
About the Authors
Bertrum H. MacDonald, Suzuette S. Soomai, Elizabeth M. De Santo, and Peter G. Wells, of the Environmental Information: Use and Influence Research Program (EIUI) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, are the editors. Since 2004, EIUI has partnered with governments in Canada, in addition to NGOs and international inter-governmental organizations, to investigate the role that scientific information plays in the development and implementation of marine policy.
An international roster of over 30 practitioners and scholars contributed to this volume, representing multiple disciplines, including coastal zone management, fisheries management, information management, and public policy. This team combines the knowledge of leading researchers on science-policy interactions with the experience of practitioners at national, regional, and international levels of government. The text draws clear, practical lessons from the scholarly literature.
The book presents fundamental concepts and principles of the science-policy interface, which are illustrated in contemporary case studies.
Essential themes include:
The complexity of the pathways by which scientific infor-mation flows within and among organizations that set the context for policy and management decisions.
The significance of the processes by which information is generated and assembled to inform policy.
The necessity to produce information in styles and formats that are helpful to intended users.
The diversity of methods by which information can be used (or misused) in policy development.
For further information about this book and EIUI’s work, visit www.eiui.ca. Direct inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book identifies major challenges facing researchers and practitioners wanting to improve the processes of evidence-based decision-making, including the need to:
Develop policy solutions to balance trade-offs between evidentiary, political, and economic imperatives.
Enhance knowledge sharing and information management processes to ensure that decision makers access the relevant information.
Improve the reliability of scientific information presented to policymakers.
Understand and effectively communicate the consequences of inaction on environmental issues.
Encourage interdisciplinary approaches, that include information management, in the practice and study of integrated coastal and ocean management.
Published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis), 6 May 2016
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4987-3171-3
Science, Information, and Policy Interface for
Effective Coastal and Ocean Management
Section I. Introduction
1. Introduction – B. H. MacDonald, S. S. Soomai, E. M. De Santo, and P. G. Wells
2. Understanding the Science-Policy Interface in Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management – B. H. MacDonald, S. S. Soomai, E. M. De Santo, and P. G. Wells
Section II. Fundamental Concepts and Principles
3. Exploring the Role of Science in Coastal and Ocean Management: A Review – Brian Coffey and Kevin O’Toole
4. Science Information and Global Ocean Governance – Jake Rice
5. Risk Refined at the Science-Policy Interface: The International Risk Governance Framework Applied to Different Classes of Coastal Zone Risks – Kevin Quigley and Kate Porter
6. Governing the Marine Environment through Information: Fisheries, Shipping, and Tourism – Hilde M. Toonen and Arthur P. J. Mol
7. Inducing Better Stakeholder Searches for Environmental Information Relevant to Coastal Conservation – Diana L. Ascher and William Ascher
8. When Scientific Uncertainty Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Using Network Analysis to Understand the Building of Trust in Science – Troy W. Hartley
9. Designing Usable Environmental Research – Elizabeth C. McNie, Angela Bednarek, Ryan Meyer, and Adam Parris
10. The Balancing Act of Science in Public Policy – Peter Gluckman and Kristiann Allen
11. Measuring Awareness, Use, and Influence of Information: Where Theory Meets Practice – S. S. Soomai, P. G. Wells, B. H. MacDonald, E. M. De Santo, and Anatoliy Gruzd
Section III. Case Studies
12. What Do Users Want from a State of the Environment Report? A Case Study of Awareness and Use of Canada’s State of the Scotian Shelf Report – James D. Ross and Heather Breeze
13. The Environmental Effects of Ocean Shipping and the Science-Policy Interface – Elizabeth R. DeSombre
14. Just Evidence: Opening Health Knowledge to a Parliament of Evidence – Janice E. Graham and Mavis Jones
15. Information Matters: The Influence of the Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee on Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management in Atlantic Canada – Andrew G. Sherin and Alexi Baccardax Westcott
16. A Career-Based Perspective of Science-Policy Linkages in Environment Canada: The Role of Information in Managing Human Activities in Our Ocean Spaces – Peter G. Wells
17. Bridging the Science-Policy Divide to Promote Fisheries Knowledge for All: The Case of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Lahsen Ababouch, Marc Taconet, Julian Plummer, Luca Garibaldi, and Stefania Vannuccini
18. Informing and Improving Fisheries Management Outcomes: An Atlantic Canadian Large Pelagics Case Study by the Ecology Action Centre – Susanna D. Fuller, Kathryn E. Schleit, Heather J. Grant, and Shannon Arnold
Section IV. The Way Forward
19. Does Information Matter in ICOM? Critical Issues and the Path Forward – E. M. De Santo, S. S. Soomai, P. G. Wells, and B. H. MacDonald
Source: Book Flyer
The iconic Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967 - Marking its legacy
International Ocean Institute, Dalhousie University,
6414 Coburg Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2, Canada
a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t
Received 29 November 2016
Accepted 5 December 2016
March 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the SS Torrey Canyon oil spill and cleanup, off the Cornwall coast in
the English Channel. It was the world's first major supertanker disaster. It was a signature event in the marine
pollution field, especially related to oil spill response and the initiation of scientific studies of monitoring and
researching the fate and effects of oil in the sea. This paper recalls this event, notes our growing understanding
of marine pollution and global efforts for cleaner seas, and encourages further work on both oil and the many
emerging environmental issues affecting the marine environment.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Next year (March 2017)marks the 50th anniversary of the SS Torrey
Canyon supertanker oil spill and cleanup, off the Cornwall coast in the
English Channel. It was the world's first major supertanker disaster
(Hall, 2007; Barkham, 2010). Itwas a signature event in themarine pollution
field, especially related to oil spill response and scientific studies
ofmonitoring and researching the fate and effects of oil in the sea. Its anniversary
is an opportunity to recall this event, to note our growing understanding
of marine pollution and global efforts for cleaner seas, and
to encourage further work on both oil and themany emerging environmental
issues affecting the sea.
The Torrey Canyon was a very visible and well-documented spill,
given its location and size (119,000 tonnes of Kuwait crude). It killed
N25,000 seabirds and numerous other marine organisms, engaging
public attention for months. The spill coated beaches in southern England
(approx. 200 km of Cornish coast), the Channel Islands, and
northwestern France. It stimulated several UK studies reported upon
soon after the event (Corner et al., 1968; Nelson-Smith, 1968, 1972;
Simpson, 1968; Spooner, 1968, 1969; Southward and Southward,
1978; Zuckerman, 1967), two books (Cowan, 1968; Smith, 1968), and
scientific concern about coastal pollution from oil and many other
toxic chemicals, in numerous countries. At the time, relatively little
was known about the fate and effects of petroleum derived hydrocarbons
in the sea. The event was also followed shortly afterwards in
North America by the barge Florida spill in Buzzards Bay,Massachusetts
(1968), the Santa Barbara oil platform blowout off California (1969),
and the tanker Arrow bunker C spill in Chedabucto Bay, NS, Canada
(1970). All of these events helped initiate several decades of marine
oil spill impact and recovery studies.
The Torrey Canyon spill was burned, bombed, sprayed with
chemicals and physically removed from shorelines. It was the first,
major offshore and shoreline use of chemicals on a large spill. Unfortunately,
theywere first-generation dispersants (solvent-emulsifiers) and
detergents (solvent based cleaning agents, ITOPF, 2014). They proved to
be of limited effectiveness for the job of dispersing the oil at sea and for
cleaning the beaches, and where used on shorelines, they caused considerable
further ecological damage. The spill gave dispersants a bad
name that has lasted for decades.
The spill also occurred at a time when environmentalism was becoming
a prominent force in western society. Rachel Carson's Silent
Spring (Carson, 1962) had just been published to great acclaim. Toxic
waste dumps were prolific in the USA (these eventually led to super
fund site cleanups), there was the wide-scale use of Agent Orange in
Vietnam, and countries were recognizing the implications of the
burgeoning global human population. Public and political concern,
from local to international, was mounting.
It was shortly after the Torrey Canyon spill that the predecessor of the
Marine Pollution Bulletin began, initiated by Dr. Robert (Bob) Clark, University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was a mimeographed Newsletter
with a limited distribution to aquatic and marine pollution
specialists. Clark then became the first and long standing Editor when
the newsletter transitioned with Pergamon Press to the current journal
The influence in the marine pollution field left by the Torrey Canyon
disaster, and followed by the other accidents (some mentioned above),
has beenmulti-faceted. Over the past 50 years, there has been a huge investment
in oil pollution research, and research on a vast array of other
chemicals and physical threats to the sea. For oil, the result has been
thousands of papers and reports, and several major syntheses, such as
the US National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council reviews
of oil in the sea (NAS, 1975, 1985; NRC, 1989, 2003, 2005). The
Marine Pollution Bulletin xxx (2016) xxx–xxx
E-mail address: Oceans2@ns.sympatico.ca.
MPB-08232; No of Pages 2
0025-326X/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Marine Pollution Bulletin
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/marpolbul
Please cite this article as: Wells, P.G., The iconic Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967 - Marking its legacy, Marine Pollution Bulletin (2016), http://
Source; Document.....pdf-185 kb
( REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom )
The Harper government muzzled scientists. Donald Trump's administration is now doing the same. But a better relationship between science and government is possible. Sir Peter Gluckman is the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. This episode draws on a conversation he had with host Paul Kennedy and a talk he gave organized by Canadian Science Policy Centre, and hosted by the Institute for Science Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. His point: science's proper role is to help decision-makers make scientifically-informed decisions.
Science is in trouble: it's under attack from the outside and elitist on the inside. So what should science be doing?
"Is scientific advice of any value at all? If experts in a
post-trust, post-truth world are marginalised as elites and can't solve
our problems anyhow, do they have any value? In my opinion, scientific
advice in this context is more important than ever...
"The scientific community is not beyond reproach. Science can
get easily caught up in an elitist framing, particularly when
we're arrogant. Because we must admit that science cannot solve every
problem. Nor can we claim that it does. Nor can we claim that we know
better than politicians how to solve the problems of the world.
"I think the issue [is] how you interpret the data. For example, you
could pour a whole of the data into a computer and it might turn out
something like: "where people eat more ice cream, there are more
burglaries" -- to use a silly example. It doesn't mean that ice cream
eating causes people to be naughty and steal things. What it's just
telling you is there's a confounder, and the confounder is on hot days,
people leave their windows open, and where windows are open, burglars
are more likely to enter them.
"I think if we go back to when I was a young scientist -- which was a few decades ago -- I think those scientists [who] appeared in the media were seen to be show ponies. It was disregarded. They lost respect from their colleagues. Now I think we understand that scientists who are good communicators are critical parts of the relationship between science and the rest of society. And that relationship is critical if science is to be well-used by society."
"Scientists especially in the brokerage role need to recognize that in a democracy, policymakers have the right to ignore -- but hopefully not to deny -- the evidence, even if in my view it's unwise and ultimately counterproductive to do so. But the reasons they might ignore the evidence might involve many values-based considerations that scientific knowledge could inform but cannot resolve: political ideology, public opinion, fiscal consequences, diplomatic consequences, etc. The nature of democracy means that there are always multiple trade-offs at play in every decision a government makes, and different stakeholders have very different perspectives."
Position key to advancing science and integration of science into decision making
December 5, 2016 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
More than 35,000 people in the federal government are involved in science and technology
Today, the search begins for the person who will be instrumental in furthering the Government's
The Chief Science Advisor will be responsible for providing scientific advice to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Science and members of Cabinet. This individual will also advise on how to ensure that government science is open to the public, that
The position is now open to all Canadians. The full job description and information on
November 7, 2016 – St. John's (Newfoundland and Labrador) / Halifax
Every day, Canadians across the country rely on transportation to get to work,
Today, in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc,
The Plan improves marine safety and responsible shipping, protects Canada's
As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the following initiatives were announced:
Moving forward, Canada will be better equipped, better regulated, and better
Scientists have discovered cancer that’s transmissible from mollusk-to-mollusk, including soft-shell clams. (Photograph: Michael Metzger)
It sounds like the plot of a summer horror flick: Malignant cells floating in the sea, ferrying infectious cancer everywhere they go.
The story is all too true, say scientists who’ve made a discovery they call “beyond surprising.”
Outbreaks of leukemia that have devastated populations of soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) along the east coast of the U.S. and Canada are the result of cancerous tumor cells making their way from one clam to another.
“The evidence indicates that the tumor cells themselves are contagious – that they can spread from one clam to another in the ocean,” says biochemist and immunologist Stephen Goff of Columbia University, co-author, along with Michael Metzger of Columbia, of a paper reporting the results in the journal Cell.
The mussels at Copper Beach in West Vancouver, Canada, are infected with the disease. (Photograph: Annette Muttray)
This week the team reported new findings in the journal Nature. The transmissible cancer has been discovered in three more bivalve species – mussels (Mytilus trossulus) in West Vancouver, Canada; cockles (Cerastoderma edule) in Spain; and golden carpet shell clams (Polititapes aureus), also in Spain.
Mytilus trossulus is the main native intertidal mussel in the northern Pacific. In North America, it’s found from California to Alaska. Cerastoderma edule is widely distributed from Norway to the coast of West Africa; Polititapes aureus is common in the coastal waters of Spain and nearby nations.
The plot thickens: Soft-shell clams…and their relatives
A disease first found in soft-shell clams is now confirmed in mussels, cockles and gold carpet shell clams. (Photograph: Michael Metzger)
The range of the soft-shell (Mya arenaria) extends along the eastern North America coastline from Canada to the U.S. Southeast. The species is also found along the U.K. coast, as well as in the North Sea’s Wadden Sea, where it’s the dominant large clam.
Soft-shell clams – also called steamers, longnecks and Ipswich clams – are popular in seafood markets and on restaurant menus.
For those who favor clams on the half shell, the researchers believe that clam leukemia can’t be contracted by eating potentially infected clams, nor by swimming in the sea.
Mya arenaria’s shell is made of calcium carbonate and is thin and easily broken, hence the name soft-shell. The clam lives buried in tidal mudflats, some six to 10 inches under the surface. It extends its paired siphons up through the mud to filter seawater for food. Water often spurts from the siphons, a tip-off for clam diggers.
Cockles like these were collected near Galicia, Spain, and tested for the disease. (Photograph: David Iglesias)
Means and opportunity: The disease
Clam diggers likely won’t wipe out a mudflat’s soft-shells, but clam leukemia may. The cancer, it’s believed, originated in one unfortunate mollusk. It’s astounding, Goff says, that a leukemia that has killed countless clams traces to one incidence of the disease.
As the cancer cells divide, break free, and make their way into other clams, leukemia has infected soft-shells along more than 600 miles of coastline. It’s now found from northern Newfoundland to Chesapeake Bay, nearly the soft-shell’s entire range. “The prospects for disease control therefore aren’t very promising,” says Goff.
Only two other transmissible cancers are known in the wild: Canine venereal disease in dogs and Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease, spread when one Tasmanian devil bites another.
Will soft-shell clams and related mollusks go the way of Tasmania’s devils, now listed as Endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species? No one knows.
Along with cockles, golden carpet shell clams near Galicia, Spain, have leukemia. (Photograph: David Iglesias)
On-the-loose: From New York to Maine to Prince Edward Island
In their studies of clam cancer, Goff and colleagues found that a particular sequence of DNA, which they appropriately named Steamer, was found at high levels in leukemia-ridden clam cells. While normal soft-shell cells contain only two to five copies of Steamer, cancer cells may have 150 copies.
The researchers at first thought this difference was the result of a genetic amplification process within each individual clam. But when Metzger analyzed the genomes of cancer cells from soft-shells collected in Port Jefferson, New York; St. George, Maine; Larrabee Cove, Maine; and Dunk Estuary, Prince Edward Island, he was astounded. The cancer cells were identical to one another at the genetic level. “They were clones,” says Metzger.
Adds Goff, “We were astonished to realize that the tumors did not arise from the cells of their diseased host animals, but rather from a rogue clonal cell line that had spread over large geographic distances.”
The cells can survive in seawater long enough to reach and infect a new host, the scientists found. They aren’t sure, however, how many mollusk species ultimately might be able to contract the leukemia. But the new findings suggest that transmissible cancers are more common than researchers suspected.
Mussels from Copper Beach in West Vancouver, Canada – potentially diseased – on ice. (Photograph: Michael Metzger)
Where’s the trigger?
Biologist Anne Bottger of West Chester University in Pennsylvania believes environmental contaminants may be the sparks that set off mollusk leukemia. She and colleagues studied soft-shell clams in three coastal New England locales: New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts; Hampton Harbor, New Hampshire; and Ogunquit, Maine.
“Frequencies of terminal clam neoplasia are correlated with chronic environmental contamination,” Bottger and colleagues reported in a 2013 paper in the journalNortheastern Naturalist. “That’s likely involved in disease transmission by compromising their [the clams’] innate immune systems and making them more susceptible to infectious agents.”
Bottger found the most clam leukemia in New Bedford Harbor. Of the three research sites, New Bedford Harbor had the highest levels of contaminants, including PCBs.
Once leukemia is established in a soft-shell population, Bottger discovered, it kills 40 to 100 percent of the clams.
What will happen in other mollusk species? Ominously, says Goff, “It’s too soon to know.”
For now, the best he or anyone can offer is: Stay tuned for the sequel…
Is disease in these cockles near Galicia, Spain, an indicator of the future for still other mollusk species? It’s too soon to know, scientists say. (Photograph: David Iglesias)
Ocean Views brings new and experienced voices together to discuss the threats facing our ocean and to celebrate successes. We strive to raise awareness worldwide to the benefits of restoring fisheries and creating marine reserves. We inspire people to take better care of the oceans and leave a legacy of pristine seas to future generations.
Opinions expressed are those of the blogger and/or the blogger's organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Bloggers and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules.
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The Aquarium of the World
Described by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016. They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. Bring yourself up to speed about this important place in this series of posts: National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration Visits the Gulf of California
By Connell Smith, CBC News Posted: Jun 23, 2016 6:00 AM AT Last Updated: Jun 23, 2016 6:23 AM AT