The inability of physiologists to effect change in fisheries management has been the source of frustration for many decades. Close collaboration between fisheries managers and researchers has afforded our interdisciplinary team an unusual opportunity to evaluate the emerging impact that physiology can have in providing relevant and credible scientific advice to assist in management decisions. We categorize the quality of scientific advice given to management into five levels based on the type of scientific activity and resulting advice (notions, observations, descriptions, predictions and prescriptions). We argue that, ideally, both managers and researchers have concomitant but separate responsibilities for increasing the level of scientific advice provided. The responsibility of managers involves clear communication of management objectives to researchers, including exact descriptions of knowledge needs and researchable problems. The role of the researcher is to provide scientific advice based on the current state of scientific information and the level of integration with management. The examples of scientific advice discussed herein relate to physiological research on the impact of high discharge and water temperature, pathogens, sex and fisheries interactions on in-river migration success of adult Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) and the increased understanding and quality of scientific advice that emerges. We submit that success in increasing the quality of scientific advice is a function of political motivation linked to funding, legal clarity in management objectives, collaborative structures in government and academia, personal relationships, access to interdisciplinary experts and scientific peer acceptance. The major challenges with advancing scientific advice include uncertainty in results, lack of integration with management needs and institutional caution in adopting new research. We hope that conservation physiologists can learn from our experiences of providing scientific advice to management to increase the potential for this growing field of research to have a positive influence on resource management.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Migration mortality, Scientific advice, Sockeye salmon, Thermal physiology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cow026
Journal Conservation Physiology
Citation
Patterson, D.A. (David A.), Cooke, S.J, Hinch, S.G. (Scott G.), Robinson, K.A. (Kendra A.), Young, N. (Nathan), Farrell, A.P. (Anthony P.), & Miller, K.M. (Kristina M.). (2016). A perspective on physiological studies supporting the provision of scientific advice for the management of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Conservation Physiology, 4(1). doi:10.1093/conphys/cow026