A Methodology for Assessing the Vulnerability of Marine Fish Stocks to a Changing Climate

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 2:30 PM
301A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Mark W. Nelson , Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD
Wendy Morrison , Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD
Jon Hare , National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Narragansett, RI
Roger B. Griffis , NOAA Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD
Megan M. Stachura , School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Michael Alexander , NOAA Earth System Research Lab, Boulder, CO
Jamie Scott , NOAA Earth System Research Lab
Eric Teeters , Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries
Climate change is already impacting fishery resources and the communities that depend on them. Environmental changes have been implicated in the shifting distributions, abundances and phenology of fish stocks in many marine ecosystems. These impacts are expected to intensify in the future, increasing the need to understand which fishery resources are the most vulnerable to environmental change. We have developed a tool for conducting a rapid vulnerability assessment for a large number of stocks to create an index of relative vulnerability.  The index can help fishery managers identify high vulnerability stocks and more effectively target limited research and assessment resources on stocks of highest concern.   The vulnerability assessment uses existing information and expert elicitation methods to quantify a stock’s exposure and sensitivity to expected climate change.   Pilot tests have found the methodology to be robust across temperate and tropical marine ecosystems.  The methodology has been employed for most commercially important stocks in the northeastern United States.