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Science for Decision Making at Fisheries and Oceans Canada: The Past, Present, and Future

Conference Day: 
Day 3 - November 3rd 2017

Organized by: Sophie Foster, Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa

Speakers: Steven Cooke, Professor, Canada Research Chair at Carleton University; Suzuette S. Soomai, Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University; Nicholas Winfield, Director General, Ecosystems Management, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

Moderator: Sophie Foster, Acting Director, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa

Takeaways and recommendations: 
  • The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) process is the mechanism by which Fisheries and Ocean Canada (DFO) provides peer-reviewed science advice that is used by DFO and made available to the public.

  • The CSAS process informs most advice provided to the minister on key issues.

  • The CSAS process is effective because it produces credible, relevant, and legitimate information.

  • Studies of how information flows within organizations should continue to help organizations evaluate or modify practices to increase the credibility, relevance and legitimacy of the information they produce.

  • The science community can organize around upcoming problems to produce evidence for use in the CSAS process.

  • DFO does not work in a world of absolute certainties: science-based evidence is one input in the decision-making process.

  • Funding could be made available to researchers for conducting research and producing research documents for use in the CSAS process.

  • Researchers can use CSAS documents, which outline uncertainties and gaps in knowledge, to justify future funding.

  • Use in the CSAS process is a clear demonstration of research impact.

  • External experts could come to the process earlier to help define the question and support the strategy for collecting research evidence.

  • Systematic reviews could be incorporated into the CSAS process, helping to make the process comparable and reproducible.