Current fisheries management measures don’t account for expected shifts in populations

After discussing the world model of what could happen to fish populations if carbon dioxide levels double by 2050, David Close said part of the problem is that current conservation and fisheries management measures do not account for climate-driven species distribution shifts and biodiversity changes.

“This model is designed by the availability of data which is on a world scale,” said Close. “We need better data that’s more regional and we don’t have data for fisheries that are culturally important like lamprey or eulachon (candlefish).”

By understanding changes in the ocean, we can design management policies that can cope with such changes to minimize the potentital ecological and soci0economic impacts of climate change.

Invasion and local extinction of marine species may disrupt marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Fisheries will be impacted by shifts in distributions of their targeted species.

We need to model for more refined data to improve on this model that is more world in scope than regional. “What about the sacred traditional foods? These are tied to our belief systems,” said Close.

He advocated for a number of policy and scientific actions:

  • Implement comprehensive and integrated ecosystem approaches to managing coasts and oceans, fisheries, adequate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
  • Reducing fishing capacity and rebuilding over-exploited ecosystesm; this could be achieved partly by eliminating subsidies that promote overfishing and excessive capacity
  • More environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient fishing and aquaculture practices (not net pens)  and integrate climate-proof aquaculture with other sectors
  • Provide climate change education in schools and create greater awareness among all stakeholders. Integrate appropriate traditional knowledge with Western science
  • Strengthen our knowledge of aquatic ecosystem dynamics and bio-chemical cycles, particularly at local and regional levels
  • Conduct local climate change vulnerability and risk assessments (of how they adapt) What’s important to us rather than only economically important to mainstream society.

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