Survival and evolution of ICES in a changing world
reportposted on 2022-03-01, 12:46 authored by H. M. Rozwadowski
ICES began its life not as a permanent intergovernmental institution, but as a temporary structure erected to execute a five-year program of hydrographic and biological investigations of the northern European seas. Many, perhaps most, of its Delegates and scientific experts soon believed that the International Council should continue indefinitely, but at various times its survival nevertheless appeared uncertain. World War I, which brought to an end so many similar international organizations, challenged the youthful body, as did postwar efforts to found an Atlantic-oriented scientific body. At other junctures, even when sheer survival was not at stake, ICES faced choices that promised to alter dramatically the scale, scope, and form of the institution or its work. Periodic cries, for instance, issued forth, starting in the first decade, that ICES should focus more on pure science and less on fisheries. Debates about whether ICES should conduct work on a regional or a global scale have likewise recurred. Dramatic growth of a formal advisory role for the Council proceeded hand-in-hand with an emphasis on scientific objectivity, heightened by the Cold War context. This paper explores a series of challenges faced by ICES, asking of each episode how the institution survived and changed in response.