Lagged Social- Ecological Responses to Climate and Range Shifts in Fisheries

Many studies have been done to test the effects of marine species migration patterns and habitat changes due to climate change and have shown that many middle latitude species have moved north towards the poles to escape the rising temperatures. Pinsky and Fogarty (2012) investigating the effects of climate change on marine fisheries in the northeastern United States, also demonstrate a northward shift of these species, along with their target (or indicator) species. However, interestingly, the marine fisheries in question did not move as far north, indicating some sort of an economic and regulatory constraints. Pinsky and Fogarty examined species in the northeastern United States. They hypothesized the northern states would receive a higher proportion of total landings as the species moved north and the southern would receive lower. Landings are the total tons of catch. Pinsky and Fogarty also find that economic and regulatory considerations have s significant impact on fishery species.—Neha Vaingankar

M. Pinsky, M Fogarty, 2012. Lagged social-ecological responses to climate change and range shifts in fisheries, Climate Change, Vol 115, 883-891

                  Pinsky and Fogarty at Princeton University examine four species of marine animals: lobster, yellowtail flounder, summer flounder, and red hake. The mean latitude was calculated as a biomass-weighted average latitude at which the species appeared in the research survey shows. Then species distribution was characterized annually by their mean latitudes. The commercial landings (weight of catch) and value of catch were used in the calculations of the mean latitude as the average latitude of the sates in which the species were caught, weighed by biomass landed. Also, they examined the preferred temperatures of species landings in each state. Much of the data were taken from other studies and sites like the National Marine Fisheries Service.
                  The data show that the both fisheries and their target species shift together. The indicator/target species is extremely important in any ecosystem. It represents the balance and overall health of a habitat.  However, in some areas, there was a much weaker correlating between the two like in the case of the lobster and yellow tail flounder. The two species went much farther north than their target species. Landings shifted towards the north only slightly as the species shifted north.  In the case of the red hake, there was less of a northward shift. The changes in latitude were not very high, but they all did exist.
                  Overall, there was a significant shift of fisheries northward. However, because of this change in population density, fishers have few options. Either they change their primary port for landing fish, or travel further away from their current spot. Despite she shifts northward as the data suggest, Fishers in the south are still attempting to make a living. They look even harder for fish with depletes the population further for northern fishers. As there becomes a greater shift in fisheries, boats will begin to move along with them. This will eventually lead to higher travel costs and finally higher process for fish. Pinsky and Fogarty believe that fishing will soon become a problem, one that will eventually lead to social and economic strife. However, in order to sustain our fisheries, efforts to save the fisheries include setting up bans and constraints on the way that fisheries respond. This will ensure that our fisheries will be able to sustain costal economies, even if the temperature is still warm.

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