Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

There’s Something Fishy about Professional Fisheries Certifications


Statistical analysis has become an important part of fishery management.  So important, in fact, that formal training in mathematics and statistics is required of any person seeking professional certification by the American Fisheries Society as a Certified Fisheries Professional.

Beel was curious to learn what statistical training was required of persons wanting to become professional fishery managers.  Please, friends, let Beel present the results of this investigation.

To qualify for certification by the American Fisheries Society, an applicant is required to take a total of anywhere from three to six semester hours of statistics.  That’s correct, the equivalent of one or two courses.  That, evidently, is all that is necessary to correctly handle and interpret fishery data.

 More specifically, the requirements are:  “Mathematics and Statistics courses, which must include one calculus and one statistic or two statistics courses.  Must total 6 semester hours.

 But, wait, says Beel.  There is more.  If an applicant did not attain this high standard, he or she can petition for an exemption from one course by meeting at least three of the four following requirements (in italics below).

I. Letter from supervisor that directly alludes to specific deficiency and comments on the proficiency of the applicant in that area (i.e., statistics, communications, fisheries, etc.).  Beel asks that you please note there is no formal requirements for the writer of this letter, other than he or she is the applicant’s supervisor.  How is one to know whether the supervisor is competent to address this deficiency.  Oh, Beel gets it, clearly a supervisor must be competent.

II. Add two years to the existing experience requirement (Ph.D. – 2 years; M.S. – 4 years; B.S. – 5 years) for each course deficiency.  Again, Beel gets it.  Pulling gill nets, elctrofishing, weighing and measuring fish, and counting rings on scales are proven indicators of statistical knowledge.

III. Applicant must list the following to satisfy a deficiency in the stated coursework area (papers must be submitted with the application).  Applicant must be the senior author of at least one manuscript.  For Mathematics and Statistics the applicant must have published two (2) manuscripts that have made statistical inference.  At least one manuscript must be in a refereed journal.  Beel especially loves this.  Two manuscripts of which one can be a typical Federal Aid report.  Such reports often include little or no statistical analysis beyond presentation of means and variances.  Note, also, there is no requirement that a correct statistical inference be made. Whether the inference is correct or not is irrelevant- its just gotta be good enough for fisheries work.

1V. Letter to the Board of Professional Certification from a colleague (of the applicant) who is a Certified Fisheries Professional and is not the applicant’s supervisor that directly addresses the specific coursework deficiency and how that deficiency has been satisfied.  OK, at least here there is a requirement of competency.  Someone who has run this course themselves must write a letter.

manga fish

 So, in the final analysis, an applicant who took one calculus course as an undergraduate, could become certified as a fisheries professional after having had no formal training in statistics.  That, says Beel, is rigor.

Maybe fisheries needs better texts?

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This entry was posted on December 28, 2012 by in Commentary, Statistics and tagged , .
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