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What Evidence? Introduction An inquiry into the biology and management of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) completed evidentiary hearings.

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Presentation on theme: "What Evidence? Introduction An inquiry into the biology and management of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) completed evidentiary hearings."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Evidence? Introduction An inquiry into the biology and management of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) completed evidentiary hearings in December The process was unusual in scope, level of detail, and public accessibility. The hearings covered many biological mechanisms and human interactions with the environment, such as: fisheries management, allowable harvest, and catch allocations aquaculture, sea lice, viruses bears, mountain pine beetles, humboldt squid, sharks, whales hydro-electric dams, logging, mining, ocean fertilization, riparian habitat, sewage treatment, gravel removal a volcano Gottfried Pestal & Tatiana Tunon. SOLV Consulting Ltd, Vancouver, Canada PC5.14 Exhibits in a judicial inquiry into Fraser River sockeye salmon Data 22 legal teams sifted through more than half a million documents disclosed by government agencies and examined 198 witnesses. Hearings were open to the public, with transcripts and exhibits available on-line. We retrieved the resulting body of evidence from in March 2012: 2,739 documents in 2,168 exhibits Each exhibit selected by a legal team to make a specific point Each exhibit accepted into evidence What do the exhibits tell us about the process? Organized by topic (e.g. harvest management, aquaculture) Categorized by type (e.g. journal paper, agency report, press release, data file) => See handout for full taxonomy and a list of notable documents (e.g. Dispatch to Duke of Newcastle Dated Oct , categorized as “Internal Memo”)

2 The Big Picture: Distribution Across Topics & Types Rough proxy for level of controversy? Does this reflect the composition of information encountered in day-to-day fisheries management? Focus of remaining figures Treemaps: Visualizing Composition by Topic All Topics Area = % Contribution Treemaps: Visualizing Composition by Topic Salmon HarvestAquaculture Disease / ISAvScience Report Examinations Comparison Across Topics

3 Conclusions LEGAL vs. BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE Similarities Strict rules for quality control Burden-of-proof considerations But, the legal process differs in: Who is allowed to offer opinions (expert witnesses and legal counsel only) Who decides which evidence to include (commissioner, legal counsel) More adversarial (cross-examination vs. peer review) OBSERVED PATTERNS Primary literature is only the tip of the iceberg Most of the exhibits would not be citeable in a biological journal paper (except for historical background?) Exhibits and transcripts offer a wealth of information for social science (e.g. linguistics, organizational psychology, history)


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