Research Topic

Vulnerability of Fisheries to Climate Change

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About this Research Topic

The evidence that environmental and climate factors cause long-term and large-scale variability in the population dynamics of marine species is growing, but it would be a mistake to conclude that the effects of fishing and other anthropogenic effects are, therefore, less important. This relation has, so far, ...

The evidence that environmental and climate factors cause long-term and large-scale variability in the population dynamics of marine species is growing, but it would be a mistake to conclude that the effects of fishing and other anthropogenic effects are, therefore, less important. This relation has, so far, failed to be demonstrated and integrated in the sustainable management of coastal fisheries. Thus, the relative importance of fisheries and climate change (warming, acidification and sea level rise) on marine and estuarine resources remains largely unknown. The livelihoods and the living conditions of many people, that directly or indirectly depend on fisheries, can be at risk, posing significant challenges for the scientific community to inform decision-making processes with proposals to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable.

The establishment of relationships between the climate and the environment, as well as the incorporation of such relationships into management and ADAPTABILITY actions under climate change scenarios should be based upon a good understanding of the biology-ecology relationships of the particular system or region. This would allow us to have an improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying the relationships among biotic and abiotic (climate-environmental) features and socio-economic consequences. The integrated knowledge about ecosystem functioning and uses, appointed as outlines of this Topic, instead of a fragmented approach, could support the emerging results that will contribute to show how climatic changes affect marine resources (marine plants, phytoplankton and zooplankton, marine plants, fisheries) and consequently, socio-economic activities. The vulnerability of fisheries to climatic variability can be measured through the capacity of species to adapt to environmental change via a vulnerability assessment framework (EXPOSURE, SENSITIVITY and ADAPTIVE capacity of species or fisheries and related economies) as advised by The International Panel Climate Change (IPCC).

This Research Topic aims to join different perspectives on climate change and marine resources, thus joining together different disciplines (fisheries oceanography, climatic modelling, time series analyses, sociology, economics) that can contribute to develop suitable measures (adaptation) under climate change risk/ scenarios (warming, acidification and sea level rise). Collectively, this collection will provide a sound basis for assessing the vulnerability of coastal fisheries and marine ecosystems/ecology to climate changes. Against this background, this Research Topic aims to encourage discussion around these key challenges by highlighting options for mitigating the effects of climate change on the ocean and adapting to their impacts.


Keywords: Environmental trends, Risk assessment, Socioeconomic impacts, Ecosystem approaches, Fisheries management


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