Key Elements of Climate Adaptation for Marine Fishing Communities

Key Elements of Climate Adaptation for Marine Fishing Communities

Katherine E. Mills, Andrew J. Allyn, Lisa L. Colburn, Steve Eayrs, Bradley Franklin, Troy Hartley, Mary Hudson, Brian Kennedy, Jonathan Labaree, Andrew J. Pershing, Chin-Hwa Sun, and Eric Thunberg

Key Elements of Climate Adaptation for Marine Fishing CommunitiesThis is part of Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Dynamics of High-latitude Fish and Fisheries
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Climate change is affecting marine ecosystems and fisheries around the world, and these effects are particularly acute in rapidly warming regions. Climate variability and change impact living marine resources, fishing operations, shoreside infrastructure, fishing communities, seafood supply chains and consumers. Fishermen and fishing communities are responding to these impacts in a variety of ways, including changes in target species, fishing locations, shoreside investments, and market development. As climate-driven changes persist into the future, these responses will continue, and more deliberate, planned adaptation efforts are expected to develop. At this nascent stage, adaptation planning in marine fisheries can benefit from efforts in other sectors with a longer history of adaptation, such as agriculture, water resources, and coastal management. In this paper, we draw insights from the general field of climate adaptation as well as experiences to date in marine fisheries to identify three elements that will be important for enabling fishermen and fishing communities to adapt to climate-driven ecosystem change: (1) predictive information about expected ecosystem and fishery changes; (2) clear adaptation goals; and (3) adaptive capacity. Developing these elements requires an integrated, multidisciplinary understanding of the many ways in which fishermen and fishing communities will be affected by climate change as well as an understanding of how intrinsic and contextual factors shape their adaptation options. Scientists have key roles to play in supporting adaptation by providing information that can guide decisions, but stakeholder-driven planning processes and the localized ability to adapt are necessary to apply this information toward setting goals and implementing strategies.

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