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Hot fish: the response to climate change by regional fisheries bodies


Sumby, J and Haward, M and Fulton, EA and Pecl, GT, Hot fish: the response to climate change by regional fisheries bodies, Marine Policy, 123 Article 104284. ISSN 0308-597X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104284


This paper explores institutional responses from Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) to climate change. Fisheries management is highly dependent on the stability or predictability of targeted fish populations. Oceanic changes occurring as a result of climate change will see continuing and potentially irreversible deviations from the conditions of fisheries past. These changes present challenges to fisheries management at all scales – from local to international – relating to food security, sustainability, and ecological integrity. Areas of measurably warmer ocean, or ‘hotspots’, are a very clear indicator of direct climate change effects. RFBs with hotspots in their areas of competence were chosen for this study. Three levels of institutional engagement were developed: Awareness of climate change; Learning about climate change; Action taken by the institutions. While 94% of institutions demonstrated awareness of climate change and 82% demonstrated learning about climate change, only 41% demonstrated some form of action; and these were mainly procedural and administrative. Only two of the RFBs considered made explicit statements about incorporating climate change into future fishing management plans. The inference is that RFBs are largely practising business-as-usual, with the implication that many exploited fish populations will face additional survival pressure as the sea around them alters.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, hotspots, fisheries management, governance, regional fisheries bodies
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Sumby, J (Dr Jonathan Sumby)
UTAS Author:Haward, M (Professor Marcus Haward)
UTAS Author:Fulton, EA (Dr Elizabeth Fulton)
UTAS Author:Pecl, GT (Professor Gretta Pecl)
ID Code:141751
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2020-11-16
Last Modified:2021-09-20
Downloads:20 View Download Statistics

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