Controversial Data Leads to Violation of Scientific-Integrity Policy

Written by on January 14, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law
Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch).

Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Photo credit: Soggydan via photopin cc

Last week, seven U.S. fisheries scientists filed a formal complaint after a supervisor threatened to eliminate their research branch for their “controversial” predictions for salmon populations.

“This falls into the basket of obstruction of science for policy or political ends,” said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The researchers’ model focused on threatened coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in the Klamath River Basin in Oregon. Research at the Klamath River Basin has been divided between those who want to tear down the local hydroelectric dams, saying the dams are responsible for salmon die-offs, and those who believe removing the dams wont actually provide the expected benefits.

The researchers from the Fisheries Resources Branch believe that supervisor Jason Phillips violated the scientific-integrity policy. In the letter, the scientists state that Phillips intended to shut down their branch after they produced data that contradicted the findings of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Phillips denys the accusations, saying: “It’s never been about the findings causing problems. Results are results.”

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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