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Some Concepts for Assessing Impact and Adaptation Responses of Fish and Fisheries to Climate Change


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Title: Some Concepts for Assessing Impact and Adaptation Responses of Fish and Fisheries to Climate Change

Some Concepts for Assessing Impact and Adaptation
Responses of Fish and Fisheries to Climate
ChangeKim Hyatt and Mark Johannes Fisheries
and Oceans Canada and C-CIARN Fisheries, Pacific
Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C.ICES
Symposium, Bergen, Norway 11-14 May 2004 The
Influence of Climate Change on North Atlantic
Fish Stocks
Outline for this talk
  • Brief perspective on climate change from the
  • Identify scope of natural and human systems
    responses to CVC events and implications for
    research in fisheries and aquatic science.
  • Provide a snapshot of fisheries and aquatic
    science CVC research in Canada (1958-2003) i.e.
    what have we been doing and where are we at now ?
  • Examine where Canadas FAS climate change
    research efforts appear to be headed ?
  • Provide suggestions for some new directions.
  • Conclusions

The IPCC has made a persuasive case given various
GCMs that global climate in the 21 st century
will be warmer i.e. 1-3 degress warmer by 2050
even with Kyoto reductions of GHGs so impact
adaptation responses of natural resource and
human systems to climate change are
inevitable.What are the big picture
implications for fisheries and aquatic science
research by groups such as ICES or CDFO ?
Source Climate change 2001 the scientific
basis. Summary for policy makers. Contribution of
Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC)J. T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M.
Noguer, P. J. van der Linden and D. Xiaosu (Eds.)
Cambridge University Press, UK. 2001. Figure 5
p. 14.
A Question of Scope Climate impact adaptation
issues are imbedded within each of several
domains that define the human ecosystem and that
warrant scientific enquiry ( impact and
adaptation issues may be considered 1st at the
abiotic level involving interactions between the
global atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere)
Abiotic IA issues propagate through the
biosphere where populations of organisms and
ecosystems respond in complex ways to climate
change. IA studies involving both short and long
term, or even evolutionary scale considerations,
are a well developed element of Canadian
fisheries science focused on biological systems
(e.g. large volume of work on Atlantic groundfish
such as cod, Pacific salmon, Great Lakes fishes
Moving from the natural to the cultural side
of the ledger, a diversity of socioeconomic
systems have developed with a focus on
fisheries resource extraction. IA issues
multiply rapidly at the interface between natural
and cultural systems. Fisheries and aquatic
science research on impact and adaptation issues
from a socioeconomic or human systems
perspective lag far behind those in the
natural-abiotic and natural-biotic domains as
amply demonstrated by the majority of talks at
the current ICES symposium.
Human populations modify their surroundings by
creating what Redman (1999) refers to as the
built environment. The built environment
consists of the sum of both hard and soft
infrastructure elements. Fishing fleets,
aquaculture facilities, processing plants and
hatcheries are examples of hard cultural assets
belonging to the built environment. Government
institutions, laws, policies, information systems
are examples of soft cultural assets belonging
to the built environment.
List of What a Balanced Impact Adaptation
Science Must Cover
  • Multiple domains (abiotic, biotic, natural,
    cultural) exhibiting complex boundaries and
  • A much wider range of subject matter than single
    disciplines or institutions (e.g. CDFO or ICES)
    normally deal with.
  • Events at a range of spatial (local, regional,
    global) and temporal (prehistoric, historic,
    current, future) scales.
  • Consideration of effects on both hard (e.g.
    fishing fleets, processing plants, hatcheries,
    dams) and soft (e.g. institutions, treaties,
    laws, policies, mgt processes, information
    systems) infrastructure as part of the built

How are we doing ? A snapshot of the state of
fisheries impact adaptation science in Canada
C-CIARN Fisheries ( ) has
compiled a bibliographic database on CVC issues
for fish, fisheries aquatic resources in Canada
from a wide range of sources (Johannes Hyatt
  • Climate Change IA Database
  • 12,410 International records
  • 1,604 Canadian records (by author site)

Climate impact and adaptation references have
been compiled by searching on key words, paper
titles, citation sources and climate phrases.
e.g. climate impacts changes to, assessments
of, prediction of, effects of and climate
adaptation evolution of, adaptation to,
fisheries, flood or drought management,
managing, conservation planning, sustainable
resource planning
  • International FAS Records (12,410)
  • 12,144 on impacts (98 )
  • 266 on adaptation (2 )
  • Canadian FAS Records (1,604)
  • 1460 on impacts (gt 90 )
  • 144 on adaptation (lt 10 )

  • Cdn research on fisheries CVC issues increased
    rapidly after the mid-80s
  • Virtually all of this increase involved CVC
    impact studies (1460 references)
  • Adaptation to climate change is not a major
    subject for study by fisheries scientists (only
    144 references mostly after 1999)

Most Canadian CVC research is focused on physics
phytoplankton (i.e. 54 of studies deal with
physics biophysics of atmosphere-and-ocean
climate systems especially links between GCMs
the biophysics of carbon sources and sinks 35
biological 11 paleobiology).
Conclusion FAS research may be focused too
narrowly to deal principally with the science of
atmosphere ocean climate systems while ignoring
the need to develop climate science for large
interacting natural resource human systems.
Where do we appear to be going with development
of CVC Science in Canada ?
Draft Climate Change Science Plan
GHG Sinks
Farms Forests Wetlands Oceans Models
Atmosphere Oceans Cryosphere Hydrosphere Land
Atmosphere Oceans Water-and-Energy Cryosphere Land
Atmosphere Ocean Coupled Global Regional
Scenarios Production Research
Sectors (i.e. all natural resources) All
Socio-economic systems
Short shrift to sectoral impacts ? adaptation ?
More physics and phytoplankton i.e. a contd
emphasis on the physics biophysics of
atmosphere ocean climate systems (i.e. 5 of 6
FCCSP thematic streams focus on this)
Suggestions for a more balanced approach to
Fisheries CVC Science in Canada (C-CIARN
Fisheries NAC, May 1, 2004)
Climate Change Science
Atmosphere Ocean Climate Systems
Natural Resource and Human Systems
Monitoring GHG Sinks Processes Models Scenarios
Monitoring I A Processes I A Models I A
Scenarios Built Envt Issues I A Policies
Shift in emphasis required if were to develop
fisheries climate science to effectively
explore impact and adaptation outcomes for
large interactive natural resource and human
systems !
Impact Scenario (top-down) versus Vulnerability
(bottom-up) approaches are divergent methods
for climate change impact adaptation
assessments in fisheries.
Vulnerability Approach (OBrien et al 2004,
CICERO paper)
Climate Scenario Approach (typified by ICES
Incorporate results into Management
Strategies Estimate future vulnerability
Identify adaptation strategies Estimate climate
impacts on fish fisheries Assess
vulnerability (experiences, coping ability,
capacity to adapt) Engage stakeholders (Those
affected by CVC e.g. fishermen)
Climate Science impact models Invoke climate
scenarios (warming, circulation etc) Estimate
climate impacts on fish fisheries Provide
Advice and Plan for Stakeholder Response

Vulnerability assessments require identification
of the effective coping range for a given natural
resource or human system beyond which dramatic
and occasionally irreversible changes in system
state occur.
System Coping Range
Event Frequency
Ocean Temperature or River Discharge
  • Hierarchy of Coping Ranges Scale
  • Global Hydrosphere
  • Global Fish Populations
  • Atlantic Groundfish
  • North Atlantic Cod
  • Western Rim Cod
  • Gulf St Lawrence Cod

Event Frequency
Coping Range
Ocean Temperature
Other Needs ? Develop Integrated Assessment
Models of Impact Adaptation Responses to
Climate Change Events to Reflect Interactions
Among Physics, Phytoplankton, Fish, Fisheries
IAR Model I Resources, 1-5 IAR Model II
Managers, 6-9 IAR Model III Stakeholders, 10-13
CVC Event e.g. drought
Adaptive Response I. e.g. behavioral,
physiological, ecological, etc
Impact I. General biophysical impact e.g. on
region or watershed
Impact II. Focused socioeconomic impacts e.g. by
natural resource mgrs.
Impact I. Focused biophysical impact e.g. on the
fish-habitat complex
Impact III. Focused on stakeholders of specific
resources and built environment assets
  • fisheries CVC issues are conditioned by
    complex interactions among biological resources
    (salmon), resource regulators (e.g. management
    boards) stakeholders (e.g. capture and culture
    fisheries). Exploration of interactions requires
    development of coupled models and an iterative

Adaptive Responses II III e.g. behavioral,
cultural, social, economic, legal
Summary and Conclusions
  • Climate change will accelerate dramatically
    over the next 50 years even with Kyoto levels of
    mitigation for greenhouse gases so climate impact
    and adaptation issues will proliferate for all
    natural resource sectors including fisheries.
  • FAS research on impact and especially
    adaptation issues from a human systems
    perspective lags far behind work on climate
    impacts on biophysical systems.
  • Adaptation responses of fish and especially
    fisheries to climate change do not appear to be
    major subjects for study to date by fisheries
    science, but it should be.
  • Human populations rely on mosaics of natural
    and built environment assets that will interact
    in response to climate change and fisheries
    systems such as fleets-factories-fish are no
  • Climate impact and adaptation issues in
    fisheries are complex and will require
    interdisciplinary work at levels that will
    challenge the capacity of existing national and
    international institutions.
  • We need a more balanced approach to fisheries
    and oceans (not just oceans) climate science
    focused on (a) atmospheric and ocean climate
    systems and (b) large, interactive, natural
    resource and human systems.
  • We need to adopt new methodological paradigms
    (i.e. vulnerability assessment and risk
    management, integrated assessment response
    models) and working partnerships with social
    sciences to get beyond physics and
    phytoplankton to include fish, fisheries
    managers and other fisheries-dependent
    stakeholders as routine subjects for the
    attention of Fisheries CVC Science.