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Gulf of Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling Project (GOA-CLIM) Phase 2: From climate to communities in the Gulf of Alaska: an integrated modeling approach to support the climate adaptation and resilience of fisheries management and fishing-dependent communities

GOA-CLIM webpage

The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) ecosystem supports valuable and diverse marine fisheries, annually producing $1.3-2.1 billion dollars first wholesale value as well as supporting valuable recreational and subsistence fisheries. The majority of Alaska’s population resides in the GOA region, many living in isolated fishing-dependent communities. The ecosystem exhibits strong fluctuations in productivity, driven by climate events such as the 1977 regime shift, and the 2013-2016 marine heatwave. Although the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has been responsive to past fluctuations, for instance recommending an 80% cut in the quota for Pacific cod due to a decline in biomass linked to the 2013-2016 marine heat wave, future climate change in the North Pacific is forecast to be greater than has been experienced historically.


This research addresses the critical need to anticipate those changes, evaluate their impact on the ecosystem and its inhabitants, and to prepare appropriate management responses. This document describes an integrated research program that 1) leverages ongoing research at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 2) is closely aligned with the successful eastern Bering Sea ACLIM project, 3) builds upon the previous GOA-CLIM project funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office and North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and 4) represents a substantial step forward towards meeting the objectives of GOA Climate Science Regional Action Plans (Dorn et al. 2018, Dorn et al. In review) and the NMFS climate science strategy (Link et al. 2015). The overarching research questions of this integrated program concern the ways that fisheries management can promote resilient fisheries in a changing climate, and development of a coupled modeling approach that extends from climate to communities to evaluate economic and social impacts of climate change on resource-dependent communities in the GOA. The integrated program includes oceanographic modeling driven by climate projections of earth system models (ESM), an ensemble of biological models including single-species, multi-species, and ecosystem models, including the Atlantis end-to-end ecosystem model. A major focus of this research will be to evaluate the impacts of a changing climate on resource-dependent communities in the Gulf of Alaska. We will link the biological models to computable general equilibrium (CGE) regional economic models that will separately model the economies of six fishing communities in Southwest Alaska within a larger economic model of Alaska. Funding is requested to conduct a sociological survey to explore potential opportunities for adaptation by individual fishermen and families as they respond to changing management structures and fishing opportunities in the GOA. The research team will take a multifaceted approach to communications, including ongoing engagement with NPFMC advisory bodies, developing a communications plan to raise awareness about the project and fostering public input, and providing internship opportunities for Alaska Native students to participate in the project.

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