Two high profile scientific papers relied on by NGOs comprehensively debunked but they still contiune to rely on the flawed science

Two high profile scientific papers relied on by NGOs comprehensively debunked but they still contiune to rely on the flawed science

Two high profile scientific papers relied on by non-governmental organisation such as Oceana, Seas-at-Risk and the Environmental Justice foundation has been comprehensively debunked.

The papers published in 2020 and 2021 respectively made serious claims associated with marine protected areas, fisheries food production and trawling carbon emissions generated by sediment disturbance.

After months of public criticism and findings of a conflict of interest, the paper “A global network of marine protected areas for food” was retracted by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Such a retraction as a big deal in science and especially coming from a prominent journal but what is strange in the story is how the conflict of interest intersects with the science. The conflict of interest was apparent immediately upon publication, but it wasn’t until major problems and underlying signs were revealed that an investigation was launched, and the paper eventually retracted.

In has news article “Retraction of a flawed MPA study implicates larger problems and MPA science”, Max Mossler examines the systematic failures and see massive problems that’s two scientific papers have caused for the fishing industry and hammers home a few home truths.

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One of the claims by the papers was that bottom-trawling released more carbon than the whole airline industry.

Other claims included that by closing an additional 5% of the ocean to fishing would increase catches by 20%. This was found to have seriously flawed assumptions about the connectivity of global fish populations which meant for example that MPAs in the Atlantic could benefit fish in the Pacific. 

A further assumption on fish birth rates (density dependence) assumed dependence on the whole world population when in fact they can be only dependent on the specific population of a particular species; North Sea Cod has no relation to the breed success of Gulf of Maine Cod. 

Serious data errors were also identified one of which overegging the food benefits of MPAs.  The paper was retracted after it emerged that the person responsible for assigning peer reviewers had collaborated with the authors and was a lead author of the Nature paper.

This week Oceana, Seas-at-Risk, Our Fish, WeMove Europe, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Environmental Justice Foundation delivered a petition to EU Commissioners for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius calling for the banning of bottom-trawler in EU waters. Their claims are based on these two debunked papers, but yet they refuse to acknowledge that this science is wrong.

How can this be?

Is it because environmental non-governmental organisations are big business, worth tens of millions each year?

Read the full Max Mossler article by clicking here.

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