Clock Project

ERC Starting Grant 2015
Funding Agency: European Research Council
Period: 5 years (2016-2021)
Research Team: Elena Ojea (PI), Alba Aguión (PhD student), Iratxe Rubio (PhD student), Diego Salgueiro (PhD student), Xochitl E. Ilosvay (PhD student), Alex Tidd and Smit V. Caballero (postdoc researchers), Raquel Ruiz Diaz (research assistant).

Figure 1 shows the novel approach to fisheries adaptation in socio-ecological system that CLOCK is envisaging

Future Oceans Lab is currently hosting the ERC Starting Grant funded project CLOCK (October 2016–October 2021) lead by Dr. Elena Ojea in the University of Vigo and in collaboration with the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3, Bilbao).

As climate change impacts become more and more important for resource management and sustainable livelihoods, this research project aims at anticipating solutions for climate change. It focuses on spatial impacts over fisheries around the world, that are already changing their stocks distribution, and explores the best adaptation options for nature and society.

The overall aim is to design and develop an adaptation framework (figure 1) that integrates fisheries management science within the context of socio-ecological systems to assure long-term sustainability of the resources and livelihoods.

The overall objectives of this 5-year project are:

– To identify and understand the new challenges raised by climate change for current sustainable fisheries management
– To develop a new approach to fisheries adaptation within a socio-ecological framework
– To provide empirical evidence on potential solutions for the adaptation of fisheries management
– To help introduce fisheries adaptation at the top of the regional and international adaptation policy agendas.



Figure 2. CLOCK approach.

Case studies look at fisheries operating at various scales, from small scale fisheries in Galicia, to international tuna fisheries in the Basque Country, to quota operated European stocks and coastal fisheries in Central America. Looking at different systems that are governed by a different set of rules and institutions is needed in order to obtain a global adaptation framework that can be operationalized.

CLOCK approach combines modelling and empirical methodologies. It combines bio-economic modeling of fisheries together with stakeholder-based empirical approaches. As shown figure 2, CLOCK starts by looking at fisheries management systems to incorporate the impacts of climate change and derive de optimal adaptation solutions. Then, these solutions are tested empirically and lessons learnt are incorporated to fisheries management.

The motivation for this project is the undergoing impacts marine ecosystems have shown already due to climate change around the world. Recent studies have been pointing to relevant changes such as fishing revenues, influx of migrant fishers, increased costs per unit effort, higher insurance costs and changes in international fishing agreements. These impacts might jeopardise the fisheries and its dependent human livelihoods.

Among the set of impacts that are expected from climate change, CLOCK focuses on spatial changes due to species shift in distribution. A future with stocks displaced due to changes in abundance and distribution of important species for fisheries and conservation may compromise current approaches to sustainable management, such as marine reserves or property rights, as well as ongoing institutional arrangements. In this context, new questions concerning sustainability, access to resources and equitable sharing arise. CLOCK will address these questions using a bottom-up approach that will provide new solutions to adaptation to climate change in marine systems.



Case study videos




Advisory Board

Prof. Christopher Costello

Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara.

Prof. Ben Halpern

Professor of Marine Biology and Conservation Science at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara and Director of National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Prof. Stephen D. Gaines

Dean of the Bren School for Environmental Science and Management (UCSB, and Professor of Marine Ecology UC Santa Barbara.