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Adaptation of Fishing Communities to Climate-Driven Shifts in Target Species

Our new perspective suggest what policy regulations will be needed for a sustainable and equitable response to climate change impacts in marine systems

24/06/2020 -

This month’s issue of One Earth features a perspective article written by Diego Salgueiro Otero and Elena Ojea, from FOL, in collaboration with Sarah Lester from SFU. In this article, we present the advances of the ERC project CLOCK, where we are exploring the responses that fishing communities undertake when facing climate change impacts in the marine ecosystem. We identify responses at the individual, community and governance levels, that can derive into sustainability or, on contrast, to maladaptation outcomes, such as poverty traps.

Figure from paper. Impact pathways for shifting stocks.

In the article we review how climate change is causing shifts in marine species’ distributions, disrupting fishers and fishing communities and threatening food security (see Figure above). These changes affect all fishing activities, from small-scale to industrial fishing, and have implications for livelihoods, economies, and the society along the entire seafood supply chain. We argue that fishery systems need to respond to these shifts, and they do so by undertaking changes that can lead the fishery towards adaptation or transformational responses.

By understanding what actions lead to an adaptation or a transformational change, we are better equipped to design and implement policies in response to climate change. For example, the article revises different policies for fisheries systems and discusses their ability to allow for adaptation and transformation in the fishery. While flexible management practices and fleet capacity adjustments can allow communities to adapt, other policies such as opening new seafood markets or marine conservation can allow fishing communities to transform. We acknowledge the financial support by the Oportunius program, Xunta de Galicia pre-doc fellowships and the ERC, that encourages open access.

Download the article here.




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CATEGORIES: Clock, Diego Salgueiro, Elena Ojea, Research, Results