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Evaluating Adaptation Scenarios for Fishing Communities Facing Climate-Driven Species Changes Public Deposited

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  • Climate projections indicate that ocean temperatures will continue increasing, potentially shifting the distribution of marine fish species and affecting the economics of the fishing industry and fishing communities. In this study, an integrated ecological-economic framework is used to evaluate the economic impacts of climate-driven species changes and assesses the value of specific adaptation strategies available to fishermen. A quantitative species distribution model coupled with qualitative expert vulnerability assessment ratings is used to project relative changes in the presence of over 50 commercially important fish species out to 2050 based on ocean temperatures projected by the CMIP5 ensemble of climate models (RCP 8.5 scenario). The results are used to estimate changes in species catchability, which are used as inputs to a port-specific economic optimization model. The optimization model assumes profit-maximizing behavior by the commercial fishing fleet at each port and adjusts the effort level of fishing activities— defined by the combination of gear used, vessel size, and species targeted— to changes in catchability. Future adaptation scenarios are elucidated through interviews and focus groups with fishermen and municipal leaders in diverse New England ports. The economic model is then used to assess how adaptation scenarios can buffer climate-related impacts and to evaluate the relative value of different adaptation options, such as switching gear types, species targeted, and fishing area. We also consider specific policy changes that may be required to facilitate adaptation and measure the potential benefits of such changes.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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