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

Created: 8/30/2016 - Updated: 8/08/2018

Abstract

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. 

Published On

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Keywords

Scale: 
National / Federal
Sector Addressed: 
Fisheries
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Culture / communities
Economics
Fishery harvest
Habitat extent
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Ocean acidification
Oxygen concentrations (hypoxia)
Phenological shifts
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Range shifts
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Tourism
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate climate-smart guidelines into restoration
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Incorporate climate change into harvest/take policies
Incorporate climate change into critical habitat rules / species recovery plans
Incorporate climate change into threatened / endangered species designations
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Create new refugia / Increase size and amount of protected areas
Reduce local climate or related change
Reduce non-climate stressors
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Initiate targeted research program
Provide new job training for people whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Create/enhance resources and tools
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Managed retreat of built infrastructure, relocation of people/communities
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Habitat/Biome Type: 
Coastal
Intertidal
Mangrove
Marine riparian
Supratidal (beach, rocky shore, etc.)
Marine
Benthic
Pelagic
Reef
Subtidal (eelgrass, seagrass, etc.)
Aquatic
Estuarine
Marsh
Wetland
Taxonomic Focus: 
Corals
Plants
Fishes
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Tropical
Subtropical
Subpolar

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