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Credit: University of California - Santa Barbara

Understanding how to build resilient fisheries

Friday, December 03, 2021, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

The following is an excerpt from an article published by Phys.Org:

A new decision-making framework designed by an international team of fisheries researchers can help fisheries bolster their ability to adapt to a warming world. The tool, said marine ecologist Jacob Eurich at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS), is meant to take a lot of the guesswork out of finding resilience in a time of climate change.

"Our goal is to be able to throw any fishery in this framework and pull out the bright spots and dark spots," Eurich said. "And the idea is that a stakeholder group could then look at this framework and say, 'Here are the three attributes that we should focus on, first and foremost, that will give us the biggest impact moving forward.'" By giving fisheries the ability to identify actions based on their specific needs, priorities and conditions, they, and the communities that rely on them, are empowered to implement policies and other measures that could help them withstand the various effects of a warming Earth.

The research is published in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

What is resilience?

As the global population continues to rise, fisheries are being called upon to provide an increasing amount of the world's food. They also are among the first food systems to experience the effects of climate change, as waters warm and oceans acidify.

"The frequency and severity of climate impacts are increasing, and we can project future scenarios with various modeling techniques to look at which fisheries might be in a more negative space in the coming decade," said Eurich, the co-lead author on the paper with Jacqueline Lau at James Cook University and Julia Mason at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, who took a deep, broad and holistic look at the notion of resilience across fisheries in this first-of-its kind study.

It's no small feat. Global fisheries are diverse, from the large commercial enterprises down to smaller recreational and subsistence-based fisheries. They're also subject to a variety of local demands, regulations and environmental effects.

"In California, for example, we had a severe heat wave from 2014 to 2016, and that impacted our local fisheries," Eurich said of a marine heatwave and algal bloom that affected a number of fisheries near and along the coast, from commercial rock crab operations to razor clam fisheries, to Dungeness crab fisheries. What California coastal fisheries require to withstand environmental blows can be different from what the cod fisheries of the Northern Atlantic need, or what the tuna fisheries of the Pacific Islands require.

"The way that we're thinking about resilience is the ability of a fisheries system to rebound, or adapt to something that's changing, or an external shock," he said.

To capture this idea, the researchers examined research and data on fisheries resilience across three dimensions.

"The first is the ecological system—what's going on underwater; what's happening to the fish stock as a population," Eurich explained. "The second area is governance—how is the fishery actually managed? And the third—which has typically gotten the least attention out of the three dimensions—is the socio-economic dimension, and particularly the social aspect of fisheries, or the intrinsic value, attachment, or mindset we have. Usually we focus on the economic benefit, the population structure and the dynamics of the species, but we're really trying to highlight the human dimension here." History, culture and even political climate are given consideration in the assessment of resilience. (continues...)

Author/Source: Sonia Fernandez / Phys.Org| Read the full article by clicking the link here



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