Preparing ocean governance for species on the move.

The ocean is a critical source of nutrition for billions of people, with potential to yield further food, profits, and employment in the future (1). But fisheries face a serious new challenge as climate change drives the ocean to conditions not experienced historically. Local, national, regional, and international fisheries are substantially underprepared for geographic shifts in marine animals driven by climate change over the coming decades. Fish and other animals have already shifted into new territory at a rate averaging 70 km per decade (2), and these shifts are expected to continue or accelerate (3). We show here that many species will likely shift across national and other political boundaries in the coming decades, creating the potential for conflict over newly shared resources.

Determining the degree of ‘small-scaleness’ using fisheries in British Columbia as an example.

Small-scale fisheries have been estimated to contribute up to 30% of the global landed value, which is caught by approximately 22 million fishers, some of which can be attributed to developed countries. Socio-economic analysis of small-scale fisheries often focuses on developing countries and fails to recognize the presence and contribution of small-scale fisheries in the developed world. Fisheries in British Columbia are diverse and often regarded as being industrialized and large-scale when analyzed in a global context. This study aims to demonstrate that features of small-scale fisheries are present within British Columbia’s fleets. A list of re-occurring features of small-scale fisheries is curated from the literature to capture physical, economic and social features of small-scale fisheries. These commonly identified features of small-scale fisheries are applied to Aboriginal Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries and all commercial fisheries in British Columbia are analyzed to determine the presence or absence of each small-scale fishery feature. The results of this research create a gradient of fisheries from smallest to largest scale. This approach determines that Aboriginal Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries are the most small-scale, while the sablefish fishery is the largest scale. The qualitative nature of this framework creates an opportunity for any group of fisheries in the world to be compared.

Climate change-contaminant interactions in marine food webs: towards a conceptual framework.

Climate change is reshaping the way in which contaminants move through the global environment, in large part by changing the chemistry of the oceans and affecting the physiology, health and feeding ecology of marine biota. Climate change-associated impacts on structure and function of marine food webs, with consequent changes in contaminant transport, fate and effects, is likely to have significant repercussions to those human populations that rely on fisheries resources for food, recreation or culture. Published studies on climate change-contaminant interactions with a focus on food web bioaccumulation were systematically reviewed to explore how climate change and ocean acidification may impact contaminant levels in marine food webs. We propose here a conceptual framework to illustrate the impacts of climate change on contaminant accumulation in marine food webs, as well as the downstream consequences for ecosystem goods and services. The potential impacts on social and economic security for coastal communities that depend on fisheries for food are discussed.

New Research: Climate change could cut First Nations fisheries’ catch in half

Media Release | January 13, 2016 First Nations fisheries’ catch could decline by nearly 50 per cent by 2050, according to a new study examining the threat of climate change to the food and economic security of indigenous communities along coastal British Columbia, Canada. “Climate change is likely to lead to declines in herring and […]