Impacts of anthropogenic and natural “extreme events” on global fisheries

A broad range of extreme events can affect fisheries catch and hence performance. Using a compiled database of extreme events for all maritime countries in the world between 1950 to 2010, we estimate effects on national fisheries catches, by sector, large‐scale industrial and small scale (artisanal, subsistence and recreational). Contrary to general expectations, fisheries catches respond positively to nearly all forms of extreme events, suggesting a valuable coping or compensation mechanism for coastal communities as they increase their catch after extreme events, but also an opportunistic behaviour by foreign industrial fishing fleets, as industrial catches increase. These effects vary according to country characteristics, with lower coping capacity for coastal communities and higher opportunistic fishing by foreign fleets in countries with poor governance, higher unemployment and direct exposure to prolonged armed conflicts. We also observe an accumulative effect resulting from the aggregation of multiple disasters that deserves further consideration for disaster mitigation. These findings may assist with managing fisheries towards increasing resilience and adaptive capacity such as early detection of potential impacts, protecting livelihoods and food sources, preventing illegal fishing by industrial fleets and informing aid responses towards recovery.

Adaptive capacity: from assessment to action in coastal social-ecological systems.

Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects.

Adaptive capacity: from assessment to action in coastal social-ecological systems.

Because of the complexity and speed of environmental, climatic, and socio-political change in coastal marine social-ecological systems, there is significant academic and applied interest in assessing and fostering the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities. A variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches have been developed and applied to understand and assess adaptive capacity, each with different benefits, drawbacks, insights, and implications. Drawing on case studies of coastal communities from around the globe, we describe and compare 11 approaches that are often used to study adaptive capacity of social and ecological systems in the face of social, environmental, and climatic change.

Communities and change in the anthropocene: understanding social-ecological vulnerability and planning adaptations to multiple interacting exposures

The majority of vulnerability and adaptation scholarship, policies and programs focus exclusively on climate change or global environmental change. Yet, individuals, communities and sectors experience a broad array of multi-scalar and multi-temporal, social, political, economic and environmental changes to which they are vulnerable and must adapt. While extensive theoretical—and increasingly empirical—work suggests the need to explore multiple exposures, a clear conceptual framework which would facilitate analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to multiple interacting socioeconomic and biophysical changes is lacking.

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