The State of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Marine Fisheries Management

This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey adaptation action in marine fisheries management by examining the major climate impacts on marine and coastal fisheries in the United States, assessing related challenges to fisheries management, and presenting examples of actions taken to decrease vulnerability and/or increase resilience. First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on fisheries, focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, storms, ocean circulation, sea level rise, and water chemistry. We then examine non-climatic factors that affect fisheries management, such as overfishing, bycatch, pollution, habitat degradation and modification, invasive and non-native species, and conflicting uses of marine and coastal ecosystems. Next, we examine how the aforementioned issues combine to influence abundance and productivity, distribution and recruitment, and essential fish habitat. Then we present the results of a survey sent to federal, tribal, state, and other practitioners to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities for climate-informed fisheries management and conservation. Summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources are presented in four broad categories (Gregg et al. 2011; Gregg et al. 2012):

  1. Capacity Building: Strategies include conducting research and assessments, investing in training and outreach efforts, developing new tools and resources, and monitoring climate change impacts and adaptation effectiveness.
  2. Policy: Strategies include developing adaptation plans, creating new or enhancing existing policies, and developing adaptive management strategies.
  3. Natural Resource Management and Conservation: Strategies include incorporating climate change into restoration efforts, enhancing connectivity, reducing local change, and reducing non-climate stressors that may exacerbate the effects of climate change.
  4. Infrastructure, Planning, and Development: Strategies include protecting critical coastal infrastructure used by the fishing industry, and creating or modifying coastal development measures (e.g., removing shoreline hardening, encouraging low-impact development) to increase habitat resilience.

The majority of adaptation efforts in fisheries management to date have been focused on capacity building, including conducting research and assessments, creating resources and tools, and monitoring how climatic changes are affecting species, habitats, and fishing communities. Finally, we discuss several more options to advance adaptation in the fisheries sector that are either not yet represented or are only partially addressed by the examples from our survey. 

Western Regional Action Plan

The Western Regional Action Plan outlines present and prioritizes future efforts to increase the production, delivery, and use of the climate-related information needed to help fulfill NOAA Fisheries’ mission and implement the NOAA Fisheries’ Climate Science Strategy (NCSS) in the CCLME over the next three to five years.

Alaska Regional Action Plan for the Southeastern Bering Sea

The Alaska Regional Action Plan (ARAP) for the southeastern Bering Sea  conforms to a nationally consistent blueprint, the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy. The Strategy guides efforts by NOAA Fisheries and its partners to address information needs organized into seven science objectives that represent the process of managing the Nation’s fisheries in the face of changing climate conditions. The goal of the ARAP is to increase the production, delivery and use of climate related information for marine resource management in the region. The ARAP identifies strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and actions to implement the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy in Alaska over the next 3-5 years, and contributes to implementation of the Strategy by focusing on building regional capacity and partnerships to address the Strategy’s seven science objectives. Successful implementation of the ARAP will require enhanced collaboration with our academic and agency partners.

Gulf of Mexico Regional Action Plan

The Gulf of Mexico Regional Action Plan identifies 62 actions to advance the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy at current funding and staffing levels, and others that could be accomplished with additional resources. These actions are broadly consistent with activities currently underway at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center and the Southeast Regional Office, but will require greater integration with these offices along with greater collaboration with other NOAA regional experts, such as the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and other partners throughout the region.


Springs in the Sky Island Region: Inventory, Protection and Restoration


300 E University Blvd Suite 270
85705 Tucson , AZ
United States
32° 13' 53.2956" N, 110° 58' 0.1056" W
Arizona US

Springs are keystone ecosystems in the Sky Island Region, exert disproportionate influence on surrounding landscapes, and are known to be biodiversity hotspots. Although they are abundant in this arid region, they are poorly documented and little studied. They also suffer from extensive human modification and are among the most threatened ecosystems. Lack of information on their location, management context, and biological, hydrological, and ecological characteristics hinders effective stewardship of these resources.

Bird Species and Climate Change: The Global Status Report

From the Introduction:

This review aims to answer the question: what is the threat of climate change to birds? Knowledge in this field is advancing rapidly. More is known about birds than any other class of animals, and of all groups of plants and animals the scientific analysis of likely future impacts from climate change is most developed for birds. Furthermore, birds provide some of the clearest examples of impacts already underway.

However, to date relatively few studies -- with some notable exceptions -- seek to provide an overarching view of how birds as a group are responding to climate change at the regional, continental or global level. At the same time, hundreds of localised studies on individual bird species or groups of species provide insight into how the threat is playing out in a multitude of ecosystems. This research is most detailed in Europe and North America, with far fewer studies from Asia and the southern hemisphere.

This review seeks to provide a global overview of current effects of climate change on birds as well as a picture of future impacts. It provides a scientific assessment of current research data, achieved by surveying hundreds of research articles and reports on the topic.

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.

A team of more than 300 experts, guided by a 60-member National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee produced the full report – the largest and most diverse team to produce a U.S. climate assessment. Stakeholders involved in the development of the assessment included decision-makers from the public and private sectors, resource and environmental managers, researchers, representatives from businesses and non-governmental organizations, and the general public. More than 70 workshops and listening sessions were held, and thousands of public and expert comments on the draft report provided additional input to the process.

The assessment draws from a large body of scientific peer-reviewed research, technical input reports, and other publicly available sources; all sources meet the standards of the Information Quality Act. The report was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the 13 Federal agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the Federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability.

Field Guide to Landscape Assessments of the United States

State, federal, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are investing significant resources to conduct landscape-scale assessments of the location, condition, and vulnerability of renewable natural resources. These assessments provide critical information on contiguous landscapes (e.g., ecoregions, watersheds, habitats, communities) that can be vital to a range of partners in developing landscape-scale management strategies and plans. They also provide important perspectives for subsequent finer scale management, assessment, and monitoring. A lack of awareness and coordination across these efforts reduces efficiency and diminishes the benefit of these individual assessments.

A multi-stakeholder group recognized the need for and value of collaboration among the authors of these assessments to enhance efficiency and utility and reduce duplication of efforts. This group, called the Crosswalk Team, is collaborating to develop information resources on landscape-scale renewable natural resource assessments. The team’s purpose is to facilitate greater coordination and integration across assessments and improve access to data, which greatly benefits many landscape-scale efforts [e.g. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Projects].

The Field Guide to Landscape Assessments of the United States represents the culmination of the first phase of the crosswalk process. By design, this Field Guide is limited in scope to allow for quick and easy reference. It provides a snapshot of a small sampling of current assessments and uses a common format to improve understanding of similarities and differences in areas of interest, objectives, and resources assessed. The Field Guide does not provide an in-depth analysis of assessments and associated issues, nor does it answer all questions for each audience. It serves, however, as a collaborative tool for understanding existing assessments and as a foundation for future work. Contingent on funding and participation, the Crosswalk Team will build upon the existing Field Guide framework and further engage assessment practitioners to identify other information that would be of value for possible next phases of the crosswalk process, such as developing an interactive map of the assessments, peer-reviewed papers, and expanding the reach to Hawaii and Alaska.

Documentary: Adapting to Climate Change in China

The Adapting to Climate Change in China (ACCC) documentary tells the story of adaptation in China – meeting the experts who are working to build a resilient future for China and those whose lives are changing as a result of climate impacts. Adapting to Climate Change in China is a research policy project, supporting China's response to the impacts of climate change. This documentary shows the work being carried out at the national and local level.

Please note - due to the hosting site, there are 30 seconds adverts at the beginning. After that the bilingual documentary begins.