Environmental Influences on Spatial Patterns of Commercial Fishing in New England

Location

Northeast Shelf
United States
42° 23' 46.7988" N, 67° 48' 27.4212" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Kathy Mills
Summary: 

The Northeast Shelf marine ecosystem has experienced substantial changes on seasonal, interannual, and decadal time scales. The abundance, distribution, and biological characteristics of marine fish and invertebrates have been affected by both the direct physical changes as well as by changes in lower trophic levels of the ecosystem. In turn, changes in fish and invertebrate populations have shaped fisheries, affecting the time and location at which fishing occurs as well as the effectiveness of management efforts.

Atlantis Ecosystem Modeling in Golden Bays, Tasman and Chatham Rise Regions

Location

Golden Bay and Tasman Bay
New Zealand
40° 49' 9.7068" S, 173° 10' 48.8532" E
NZ
Summary: 

Effective species management requires an understanding of species’ response to changing conditions. The Atlantis model, used by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, explores ecosystems to consider impacts of multiple factors. It is currently being used to consider fisheries, climate change, the impacts of pollutants, and habitat damage due to fishing and mining. While Atlantis has been used around the world, this project is focused on effectively modeling the Tasman and Golden Bays region, as well as Chatham Rise.

A Climate of Change Workshop Series: Fishermen, Scientists, and Managers Share Information to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

Location

New England
United States
41° 31' 48.612" N, 67° 40' 32.8116" W
US
Organization: 
Island Institute
Organization: 
Summary: 

What happens to island and coastal communities in a shifting ocean? This is a question many of Maine’s island and coastal communities are beginning to ask. With changing conditions above and below the ocean, it is important to start identifying these shifts and what coastal communities can do to start preparing. Changes to the natural environment mean new species may start showing up in fishermen’s traps or species that historically were important start disappearing.

Earth System Data Solutions for Detecting and Adapting to Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine

Location

Gulf of Maine
United States
43° 12' 8.7228" N, 68° 22' 44.0616" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Kathy Mills
Summary: 

This NASA-funded project aims to forecast ecological change to support climate-informed management of natural resources in Maine by using NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). Rapid climate change documented in Maine is currently challenging management and the sustainability of marine resources. The goal of this project is to develop forecasting models that estimate the distribution of sentinel species in the Gulf of Maine, such as small pelagic fish and squid.

Email Address: 
Position Title: 
Associate

Slow adaptation in the face of rapid warming leads to collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery

Several studies have documented fish populations changing in response to long-term warming. Over the past decade, sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine increased faster than 99% of the global ocean. The warming, which was related to a northward shift in the Gulf Stream and to changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation, led to reduced recruitment and increased mortality in the region’s Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock. Failure to recognize the impact of warming on cod contributed to overfishing. Recovery of this fishery depends on sound management, but the size of the stock depends on future temperature conditions. The experience in the Gulf of Maine highlights the need to incorporate environmental factors into resource management.

Human dimensions of climate change and fisheries in a coupled system: the Atlantic surfclam case

Research on changes in a coupled marine system of the Mid-Atlantic Bight, focusing on Atlantic surfclams and the associated fishery and management system, is reviewed for how the human dimensions of this coupled socio-ecological system are addressed by the researchers. Our foci are on economic modelling of spatial choices, using dynamic optimization with adjustments that reflect better the natural and socio-economic realities of the fishery and on ethnographic observations of decision processes, particularly those of the regional fishery management council, with particular emphasis on cognitive frames and management communities. These are designed to be integrated with and to complement biophysical modelling of the complex coupled socio-ecological system.

Forecasting the dynamics of a coastal fishery species using a coupled climate-population model

Marine fisheries management strives to maintain sustainable populations while allowing exploitation. However, well-intentioned management plans may not meet this balance as most do not include the effect of climate change. Ocean temperatures are expected to increase through the 21st century, which will have far-reaching and complex impacts on marine fisheries. To begin to quantify these impacts for one coastal fishery along the east coast of the United States, we develop a coupled climate–population model for Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus). The model is based on a mechanistic hypothesis: recruitment is determined by temperature-driven, overwinter mortality of juveniles in their estuarine habitats. Temperature forecasts were obtained from 14 general circulation models simulating three CO2 emission scenarios. An ensemble-based approach was used in which a multimodel average was calculated for a given CO2 emission scenario to forecast the response of the population. The coupled model indicates that both exploitation and climate change significantly affect abundance and distribution of Atlantic croaker. At current levels of fishing, the average (2010–2100) spawning biomass of the population is forecast to increase by 60–100%. Similarly, the center of the population is forecast to shift 50–100 km northward. A yield analysis, which is used to calculate benchmarks for fishery management, indicates that the maximum sustainable yield will increase by 30–100%. Our results demonstrate that climate effects on fisheries must be identified, understood, and incorporated into the scientific advice provided to managers if sustainable exploitation is to be achieved in a changing climate.

Potential climate change impacts on Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) off the northeastern USA

We examined the potential impacts of future climate change on the distribution and production of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the northeastern USA’s continental shelf. We began by examining the response of cod to bottom water temperature changes observed over the past four decades using fishery-independent resource survey data. After accounting for the overall decline in cod during this period, we show that the probability of catching cod at specified locations decreased markedly with increasing bottom temperature. Our analysis of future changes in water temperature was based on output from three coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models under high and low CO2 emissions. An increase of <1.5°C is predicted for all sectors under the low emission scenario in spring and autumn by the end of this century. Under the high emission scenario, temperature increases range from ∼2°C in the north to >3.5°C in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Under these conditions, cod appear vulnerable to a loss of thermal habitat on Georges Bank, with a substantial loss of thermal habitat farther south. We also examined temperature effects on cod recruitment and growth in one stock area, the Gulf of Maine, to explore potential implications for yield and resilience to fishing. Cod survival during the early life stages declined with increasing water temperatures, offsetting potential increases in growth with warmer temperatures and resulting in a predicted loss in yield and increased vulnerability to high fishing mortality rates. Substantial differential impacts under the low versus high emission scenarios are evident for cod off the northeastern USA.

Cruzan Fisheries: A rapid assessment of the historical, social, cultural and economic processes that shaped coastal communities’ dependence and engagement in fishing in the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Series, U.S. Caribbean Fishing Communities, is the result of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Caribbean Sustainable Fishing Communities Initiative, which was brought about by the recognition that the success of coral reef conservation strategies hinges on the ability to reconcile the need to protect coral reef and associated environments with the local cultural, economic, political and social requirements of coastal communities. While valuable socio-economic research had been conducted, there was no comprehensive program to collect baseline socio-economic data in place for entire U.S. Caribbean. Most of the earlier research was driven by specific management concerns and had a restricted geographic scope. Moreover, a significant share of this research is now outdated and inadequate to support management actions and meet the new legal definitions and requirements put forth by Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA), particularly National Standard 8, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Executive Orders 12898 and 12866. To address the above challenges, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center has commissioned a number of studies to develop a comprehensive overview of the historical, cultural, economic, and social condition of fishing communities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.