Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin Issues, Vol.2 No. 1 - Summer 1995

Abundance Estimates of Chinook Salmon in the Kenai River Using Dual-Beam Sonar

Douglas M. Eggers, Paul A. Skvorc, II, and Deborah L. Burwen - Vol. 2(1):1-22. 1995.

A real-time system for estimating abundance of upstream-migrating chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha using side-looking, dual-beam sonar was developed for the Kenai River, Alaska, in 1984. The feasibility of using dual-beam sonar for counting and determining target strength of passing salmon was established during the initial 2 years of the study. A hydroacoustic system was engineered to insonify that area of the river used by migrating chinook salmon. Procedures were developed for in situ calibration of the hydroacoustic system and for estimating abundance and associated variance. Management-level operation of the project began in early July 1987. The estimates of chinook salmon passing the sonar site were consistent with independent estimates based on mark-recapture methods. The temporal, spatial, and target-strength distributions of the tracked fish were consistent with estimates of these distributions made using independent methods. Dual-beam sonar has proven to be a precise method for providing real-time estimates of the passage of upstream-migrating chinook salmon.

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An Annotated Bibliography of Capture and Handling Effects on Crabs and Lobsters

Margaret C. Murphy and Gordon H. Kruse - Vol. 2(1):23-75. 1995.

An annotated bibliography of 159 references was compiled to document adverse fishery capture and handling practices and their effects on crabs and lobsters. Relevant literature was located through computer searches and review of citation sections of topical references and tables of contents from published journals. References selected for inclusion in the bibliography focus not only on how capture and handling affect crabs and lobsters but also impacts caused by lost gear and ghost fishing. References on tagging effects and historical and comprehensive treatments on the physiology of molting, growth, autotomy, and limb regeneration were not included. Publications were arranged alphabetically by author. Abstracts were included when available; otherwise a short synopsis was provided. References were indexed by keywords describing causative mechanism, resulting effect, species, and major geographic area to provide easy access by subject. The bibliography is believed reasonably complete through 1993, although it excludes some older references considered out of date.

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Initial Behavior of Displaced Yellowtail Rockfish Sebastes flavidus in Lynn Canal, Southeast Alaska

H. R. Carlson, R. E. Haight, and J. H. Helle - Vol. 2(1):76-80. 1995.

Initial behavior and movements of displaced yellowtail rockfish Sebastes flavidus were observed by divers and in telemetry experiments to test response of fish when first released. Active response behavior began almost immediately upon release, and no signs of stress or disorientation were seen. Circling behavior of displaced fish occurred soon after release and was observed repeatedly. Newly released fish promptly displayed movement away from the release site, in most instances toward the homesite. Waters deeper than 100 m appeared to hinder initial homing efforts.

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Professionalism in Scientific Reviews

Robert L. Wilbur - Vol. 2(1):81-82. 1994.
(No Abstract) Full Editorial:

This issue of the Bulletin has posed an ethical question: is it appropriate for our associate editors to publish in the Bulletin? Our affirmative response may be apparent to anyone scanning the listings of associate editors and authors of papers. The attendant problems and reasons for our decision are not as simple.

At least it did not seem simple for participants at the May 1995 Council of Biology Editors meeting who addressed this and related questions in Kansas City. Many journal staffers did not condone associate editors publishing in the journal they served. However, they mostly represented medical journals, which are comparatively numerous within given disciplines and therefore afford no dearth of alternative publication options for their associate editors. Conversely, the journals that did extend publication privileges to their associate editors tended to be from biological fields with far fewer alternative publication options for their associate editors.

The American Fisheries Society, for example, does not feel it is appropriate to penalize their associate editors by prohibiting them from publishing in the Society's journals simply because they have agreed to provide a service to the Society. The editor of Colonial Waterbirds had a similar perspective, again because of the very narrow niche of that journal and few optional publication sources. Instead of prohibiting intrajournal publishing, these journals treat associate editors' manuscripts as any other, seeking the same evenhanded review and publication consideration.

Affording associate editors this freedom, however, erects a question of propriety: does the practice invite bias into the scientific review process? For example, in the interest of maintaining good working relationships with associate editors, editors could be reluctant to reject an associate editor's manuscript, or an author who has experienced unfavorable scientific review by the journal might, as a referee, be unduly critical of an associate editor's manuscript. Other referees may not want to be too critical of an associate editor's manuscript if they plan to submit a manuscript that could end up in that associate editor's in-basket, although this is not very likely under an anonymous peer review system. While these circumstances are undoubtedly unusual, few would disagree that even infrequent problems with review bias should be avoided, if possible.

Double-blinding - that is, the masking of authors' names from referees, and vice versa - may help eliminate biased reviews of both associate editors' manuscripts, as well as those of other authors (non-associate editors). However, this would not help the editor because masking the author's identity from the editor is not realistically feasible. In addition, a referee's familiarity with research in their field may reveal the colleague's identity and render double-blinding moot. Or it could lead to incorrect speculation of the authors' identities and thereby interject the possibility of mistaken identity and bias. Such anonymity failures are particularly likely where expertise in an aspect of research is limited to a handful of specialists.

Given the limitations of double-blinding, excluding associate editors from publishing in the journals they serve may seem more attractive. However, referee and editorial predisposition can intrude upon the scientific review process, regardless of whether the author is an associate editor or not. Therefore, preventing associate editors from publishing in the journal would thwart but a small portion of the potential instances of review bias. Consequently, the Bulletin chooses to rely on a less tangible, but more ubiquitous, solution: reviewer and editor integrity - their professionalism.

In this age that glorifies the professional, it seems ironic that scientific misconduct continues to be manifested across all disciplines. For example, Sandy Shumway, editor of the Journal of Shellfish Research, recently wrote (summer 1995, Quarterly Newsletter of the National Shellfisheries Association) about the surprising occurrence (8 in the past 5 months) of referee recommendations that were totally opposed on the subject of whether to publish or reject a given manuscript. Such dichotomy, she acknowledged, can be based on legitimate scientific disagreement, but she also noted that much is instead "borne of political origin and even jealousy." Acknowledging need for improvements, we must expect and judiciously pursue unbiased reviews and editorial purview. If referees and editors cannot rise above any attendant personality issues and competitive interests and conduct a review that is objective and impartial, then we must ask them to excuse themselves from reviewing that manuscript.

The Bulletin's referees and associate editors are providing an invaluable service with little recognition or appreciation, but the authors and science are correct in expecting and demanding professionalism within the scientific review process. We are confident that the Bulletin's referees and editors will meet this protocol, and this assumption forms the basis of our decision to allow associate editors to publish in the Bulletin.

To strengthen that assumption, the Bulletin is including a brief statement in its instructions to referees that will remind them of their ethical obligations when conducting reviews and request they excuse themselves if they believe they may not be able to be objective. In addition, the merits of double-blinding will be considered by the Editorial Board this November; in spite of its shortcomings, it might provide some additional assurance against the occasional unfair review.

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Bering Sea Simulation Model

David Ackley - Vol. 2(1):83-86. 1994. No Abstract.

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