National Science Foundation, Division of Ocean Sciences

Climate Change Impacts on the Sustainability of Key Fisheries of the California Current System

Art Miller and Sam McClatchie (NOAA)

Award: $618,774
Duration: 2016-2019

Collaborators: Junjue Zhang (GPS/UCSD), James Hilger (NOAA), Kevin Hovel (SDSU), Arielle Levine (SDSU) and Doug Neilson (CDFW)

Project Summary.
The area off the California coast supports productive commercial and recreational fisheries such as squid, sardine, and lobster that are important to human cultures, economies, and livelihoods. Climate change is expected to alter the oceanic system and contribute to changes in fish populations that will directly affect fishers' profits and behavior, as well as managers' actions in setting limits on harvest. This collaborative Coastal SEES study brings together oceanographers, fisheries scientists, economists, and social scientists to develop a better understanding of interactions among the climate and coastal ocean system, fish populations, fishers and fishing communities, and resource management. The research team includes state and federal scientists, and results will be shared with the resource management community. The project will support interdisciplinary training for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scientists, and the investigators will participate in a number of public outreach activities.
This Coastal SEES project assembles a diverse team of oceanographers, fisheries scientists, economists, and social scientists to develop new, integrated understanding of climate effects on coastal fisheries. The investigators will examine how fishing behavior, income, jobs distribution, and livelihood viability will be altered by climate change. The focus is on three key commercially harvested species that are known to respond to environmental change: Pacific sardine, California market squid, and California spiny lobster. Each of these supports an economically important fishery and represents a different type of organism in terms of marine habitat, latitudinal range, and time scale of response. The approach will include global climate model projections, regional ocean modeling, fisheries modeling, economics modeling, plus studies of management scenarios and fisher behavior. The goal will be to help develop sustainable management strategies under future climate scenarios given predicted ecological, social, and economic outcomes for these three fisheries.