Study outlines ‘impactful steps’ to improve climate resilience of U.S. fisheries

Responsible Seafood Advocate

GAO urges fisheries managers to take management action to address climate change

climate resilience
A new report spells out ‘impactful steps’ fisheries managers can take now to help improve the climate resilience of U.S. fisheries.

Across coasts, U.S. fishing communities are grappling with the impacts of climate change. But a new study from the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) has identified “actionable recommendations” that could help U.S. fisheries adapt and improve climate resilience, and ultimately, protect the livelihoods of fishermen.

“Our report lays out impactful steps fisheries managers can take now to help improve the climate resilience of the nation’s fisheries and the communities that depend on them,” said Chris Free, the paper’s lead author and a research scientist at UCSB.

The study evaluated the management of over 500 fisheries across the United States, specifically examining what’s known as Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) – the rules that guide how much of a stock can be fished. The research team generated a suite of design recommendations for HCRs that can help ensure sustainable fisheries and fishing communities in a changing climate. These include using catch limits based on stock population size, accounting for potential impacts of climate change in the rules and evaluating which management approaches are best for a specific fishery.

The study comes on the heels of calls from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for regulators to take action and make climate resiliency a priority in their fishery management plans. These recommendations provide a roadmap for implementation.

Read the full study here.

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