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From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem

Project Website:  Future Seas

The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) supports highly valuable fisheries, including those on coastal pelagic (CPS) and highly migratory (HMS) fish species. The productivity and distribution of CPS and HMS species in the CCLME have been impacted by recent climate variability (NOAA, 2016). Thus, there is potential for climate-forced changes in the productivity and spatial distributions of these species to affect ecosystem processes, fisheries operations, and fisheries management (Link et al., 2015), ultimately causing socio-economic impacts on fishing communities. To be able to sustain their mandate of maintaining a resilient CCLME ecosystem and fishing economy, US federal fisheries managers in the CCLME must understand how managed species, and the ecosystem that supports them, respond to climate-induced change. There is therefore a clear need to identify science-based policies that can achieve these management objectives under a changing climate. We propose to develop an end-to-end framework to identify climate-resilient management strategies for the CCLME and evaluate the impacts of climate change on US-managed marine species and fishing communities in the CCLME. Key elements of the proposed work plan are: (1) Produce regional climate projections of fishery-relevant variables such as temperature and chlorophyll biomass for the CCLME, using output from global climate models to force a high resolution regional ocean circulation model (ROMS) coupled with a biogeochemical model (2) Use these projections in conjunction with ecological and socio-economic models to predict productivity and distribution changes in managed species in the CCLME, and the socio-economic impacts of these changes on fishing communities; (3) Evaluate current catch advice and spatial management strategies for the Pacific sardine, albacore, and swordfish fisheries given the potential future impacts of climate variability and change; (4) Use management scenarios to consider the socio-economic impacts on fishery participants and affected fishing communities; (5) Explore possible policy and management responses to climate change impacts on sardine, albacore, and swordfish fisheries.

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