The Importance of Fisheries Management in Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change on Global Fisheries

by Margaret Loncki

Fishery management plays an important role in maintaining sustainable fisheries around the world. The more effective and flexible management styles are, the better they will be able to adapt to changing fisheries as a result of climate change. The most common fishery management styles discussed by Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn (2013) are harvest control and flexible season opening and closing dates.

Global climate change has brought about significant changes to our world’s marine ecosystems and without proper fishery management, many fisheries will be exploited until they disapear. Climate change causes shifts in abundance and distribution, and has even been shown to effect species dynamics such as spawning times. Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn suggest that the most effective way to produce long-term sustainable fisheries is the use of harvest control. Harvest control, or some other form of management that adjusts to changing abundance and conditions, is a management system that would be easily adapted to the effects of climate change on global fisheries. Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn argue that current harvest control systems are only able to manage declines typically within the range seen as a result of fishing pressures. They suggest that if changes are more drastic than fishing pressures have produced, current harvest control systems will not be able to adequately protect fish stocks. Current systems may be able to manage the effects of climate change so long as pressure from fishing is significantly reduced. Harvest control also does not very adequately protect multi-specie fisheries. As the ability maximum sustainable yield decreases for one species, fishing will often be reduced for the other species due to the effect of bycatch on the declining species. Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn found that flexible season dates were most often employed in locations more dramatically effected by climate change and changing sea surface temperatures.

Melnychuk, M., Banobi, J., and Hilborn, R., 2013. The adaptive capacity of fishery management systems for confronting climate change on marine populations. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 24(2), 561-575.

 

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