National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2020

Ecosystem-based fisheries management forestalls climate-driven collapse

Holsman, K.K., A.C. Haynie, A.B. Hollowed, J.C.P. Reum, K. Aydin, A.J. Hermann, W. Cheng, A. Faig, J.N. Ianelli, K.A. Kearney, and A.E. Punt

Nat. Commun., 11, 4579, doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18300-3, View online (open access) (2020)

Climate change is impacting fisheries worldwide with uncertain outcomes for food and nutritional security. Using management strategy evaluations for key US fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea we find that Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) measures forestall future declines under climate change over non-EBFM approaches. Yet, benefits are species-specific and decrease markedly after 2050. Under high-baseline carbon emission scenarios (RCP 8.5), end-of-century (2075–2100) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries collapse in >70% and >35% of all simulations, respectively. Our analysis suggests that 2.1–2.3 °C (modeled summer bottom temperature) is a tipping point of rapid decline in gadid biomass and catch. Multiyear stanzas above 2.1 °C become commonplace in projections from ~2030 onward, with higher agreement under RCP 8.5 than simulations with moderate carbon mitigation (i.e., RCP 4.5). We find that EBFM ameliorates climate change impacts on fisheries in the near-term, but long-term EBFM benefits are limited by the magnitude of anticipated change.

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