Greenpeace asks for investigation of UW prof’s academic impartiality

commercial-vessel-seen-fishing-for-pink-salmon-near-Furry-Creek-on-Wednesday-e1440116130802Greenpeace has filed a formal complaint asking the University of Washington to investigate the academic practices of fisheries professor Ray Hilborn, who Greenpeace accuses of failing to disclose the millions of dollars of research funding he gets from the fishing industry in his academic papers. Hilborn is a high-profile scientist who often locks horns with critics of the fishing industry.

Greenpeace also alleged that Hilborn receives undisclosed consulting fees from the industry, and “also criticizes an online fisheries-information service that reaches out to the media [that] Hilborn helped launch … last fall with financial help from the seafood industry that is not noted on the website,” the Seattle Times reported.

A UW spokesman told the Seattle Times the university takes Greenpeace’s allegations “very seriously” and “will be looking into the issues raised by Greenpeace to determine if problems exist.”

Hilborn called Greenpeace “desperate” and said they group is resorting to attacking him personally because they can’t discredit his scientific work.

The complaint is the latest skirmish in a long-running battle between Greenpeace and Hilborn, who differ over whether, and to what extent, overfishing is a problem, particularly in the North Pacific salmon fishery, which is one of Hilborn’s principal funding sources. Hilborn is a natural target for environmental groups because he’s a prominent defender of the fishing industry — so much so that Greenpeace labels him an “overfishing denier.” Hilborn has both critics and defenders in the academic and scientific communities.

Read the story here.


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